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A GRAMMAR OF THE 
MOTU LANGUAGE 



Percy 



Rev, R. USTHRTURHER,':'H.A., 
r,d'-Rv. J. B.CL/, 




PURCHASED FOR THE 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY 

FROM THE 

CANADA COUNCIL SPECIAL GRANT 

FOR 

LINGUISTICS 
1968 



1 Grummur of (lie 



MOTU LANGUAGE 
OF PAPUA 



BY 

Rev. R. LISTER-TURNER, MA., F.R.G.S., 

and 
Rev. J. B. CLARK. 



2nd EDITION 

Edited by 
Percy Chatterton, L.C.P. 



Wholly set up and printed in Australia by 

A. H. PETTIFER. GOVERNMENT PRIXTF.R 
SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES. 



*46120 1 A 



EDITOR'S NOTE 



The Motu language is spoken by the Motu tribe, living along 
the coast from Manumanu to Gabagaba (Kapakapa) in the Central 
Division of Papua. It is also widely used, in a " pidgin " form 
known as " Police Motu," as a lingua franca among natives of 
other tribes. There are considerable local differences in vocabu- 
lary and pronunciation, but the speech of the people of Poreporena, 
in Port Moresby Harbour, may be taken as the normal. 

Motu was reduced to written form, and the foundations of its 
study laid, by Dr. W. G. Lawes, during the last quarter of the 
nineteenth century; and the "Third and Enlarged Edition" of 
his "Grammar and Vocabulary" was published in the last decade 
of that century. 

During the first quarter of the present century our knowledge 
of Motu was greatly imcreased as a result of the labours of Revs. 
R. Lister-Turner and J. B. Clark, and their " Revised Motu 
Grammar and Vocabulary," while based on Dr. Lawes' Grammar, 
is very much more than a new edition of that book. 

The ''Revised Motu Grammar and Vocabulary" has now 
been out of print for some years, and, in reprinting it, it has been 
decided to issue it in two parts, of which this "Grammar" is the 
first. The task of the present editor has been to rearrange Messrs. 
Turner and Clark's material in order to make the book more helpful 
to the beginner, without, it is hoped, detracting from its value to 
the advanced student and the philologist. A few changes have been 
made in the grammatical nomenclature ; and a preliminary chapter 
on grammatical terms has been written to help those whose 
knowledge of English Grammar is rusty. 

Beginners are advised thoroughly to assimilate those parts of 
the Grammar printed in large type before proceeding to the study 
of the matter in small type. 

Two Dictionaries will be available for use in conjunction with 
this Grammar. The larger will be a reprint, with a few additions, of 
the very comprehensive vocabulary which formed the second part 
of Messrs. Turner and Clark's book. The second and smaller, 
entitled "A Basic Motu Dictionary," comprises a specially selected 
vocabulary of approximately 1,000 common words, for the use of 
beginners. 

In conchision, I should like to express my appreciation of the 
enterprise of the Education Department of the Papua-New Guinea 
Administration, whicji has made possible the publication of these 
books. 

P. C. 



Preliminary Notes on Grammatical Terms 

Grammar has been aptly described by a modern writer as " the 
rules of the game of language." It is usually divided into two parts : 

(1) Rules about words : the Parts of Speech. 

(2) Rules for putting the words together to make sentences 

Syntax. 

While this division is convenient for purposes of s ady, it mu-r 
be remembered that the real unit of language is the sentence. Words 
(except for a few interrogatives and exclamations, and words such as 
" yes " and " no ") only begin to mean something when they are 
combined with other words to form sentences. The problem which 
faces anyone who starts out to reduce to writing, and study for the first 
time, a native language such as Motu is not to combine words to form 
sentences, but to split up sentences to form words, and then to discover 
what part each of those words plays in the sentence. He is, in effect, 
like a man, who, with no previous knowledge of the game of football, 
goes to a football match and tries to deduce the rules by watching the 
behaviour of the players. Fortunately, in the case of Motu, this work 
has been done for us very thoroughly and ably by Messrs. Lawes, Turner 
and Clark. 

The Parts of Speech. 

Words are sorted by grammarians into eight classes which are called 
the Parts of Speech. 

1. NOUNS. A noun is the name of anything; e.g., boy, canoe, 

strength. (We call " strength " an abstract noun.) 

2. PRONOUNS. A pronoun is a word used instead of a noun: 

e.g., I, you, they, who, that. 

3. ADJECTIVES. An adjective is a word joined to a noun to 

limit its application; e.g., good, many. 

4. VERBS. A verb is a word by means of which we make a 

statement, ask a question, or give a command; e.g., run, 
see. 

5. ADVERBS. An adverb is a word joined to a verb, adjective, 

or other adverb, to qualify its meaning; e.g., slowly, very. 

6. PREPOSITIONS. A preposition is a word joined with, 

and generally placed before, a noun or pronoun, so that the 
preposition together with the noun or pronoun forms a 
phrase equivalent in meaning to an adjective or adverb ; 
e.g., in, on, with. 

(Note. In Motu, prepositions are replaced by " post- 
positions," which come after the noun instead of before 
it.) 

7. CONJUNCTIONS. A conjunction is a word that joins 

together sentences, clauses, phrases or words; e.g., and, 
but, until. 

8. INTERJECTIONS. An interjection is a word that expresses 

a feeling of the mind; e.g., oh! alas! 

It is important to remember that words are allocated to one or 
other of these classes according to the work that they do in a sentence, 

5 



and the same word may be, for example, an adverb in one sentence and a 
conjunction in another. This is true of English, and it is still more true 
of Motu, in which the grammarian's compartments are even less word- 
tight than in English. 

Number and Person. 

Many "-ords change their form according to whether they refer 
to one perso or thing or to more than one. The form which refers to 
one only is s id to be in the SINGULAR NUMBER, while that which 
refers to more than one is said to be in the PLURAL NUMBER; 

e.g., axe, singular; 

axes, plural. 

Some words also change their form according to the person or persons 
they refer to. Grammar distinguishes between : 

FIRST PERSON. The person speaking; I, we; 
SECOND PERSON. The person spoken to ; you; 

THIRD PERSON. The person or thing spoken about; he, 
she, it, they. 

Sentences. 

A sentence is a group of words expressing a statement, command, 
or question. Every sentence must contain a SUBJECT (generally a 
noun or pronoun) and a PREDICATE (which always includes a verb 
and may include an OBJECT). 

A sentence that contains one subject and one predicate is called a 
SIMPLE SENTENCE. 

The following four type sentences will make the matter clearer : 

(1) Subject and Verb : 

e.g., The boy ran. 

(2) Subject, Verb, Object : 

e.g., The man hit the boy. 

(3) Subject, Verb, two Objects : 

e.g., The man gave the boy a book. 

(In this sentence we call " book " the DIRECT OBJECT 
and " boy " the INDIRECT OBJECT. The Indirect 
Object can always be identified as being the one in front 
of which we can place to word " to "). 

(4) Subject, Auxiliary Verb, Predicate Adjective or Noun : 

e.g., The boy is happy. 

The boy is a rascal. 

Verbs. 

A verb which requires an object to complete its meaning is called a 
TRANSITIVE VERB; e.g., hit. 

A verb the meaning of which is complete without an object is called 
an INTRANSITIVE VERB; e.g., ran. 



An AUXILIARY VERB is a verb that is used as an aid to another 
verb to extend its meaning. In this book the verb " to be," which is 
really no more than a link between subject and predicate, is, for 
simplicity, included under this head. 

An IMPERSONAL VERB is one that can only be used in the third 
person; e.g., to rain. 

Verbs have four moods : 

INDICATIVE MOOD. Expressing a plain statement of fact, 
or a direct question. 

IMPERATIVE MOOD. Expressing a command or prohibition. 

SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD. Expressing a supposition, condition 
or wish. 

INFINITIVE MOOD. Not limited to any particular subject, 
and therefore not able to form the predicate of a sentence. 
In English this form of the verb is always preceded by the 
word " to " ; e.g., to stand, to make. 

In each of these moods, the form of the verb may vary to indicate 
TENSE, i.e., whether past, present or future time is referred to. 

Verbs may be either ACTIVE or PASSIVE. An Active verb is one 
the subject of which does something; 

e.g., The man hit the boy. 

A Passive verb is one the subject of which has something done to 
it (or him) ; 

e.g., The boy was hit by the man. 

Phrases and Clauses. 

A group of words which, as a group, forms the equivalent of a noun, 
adjective or adverb, but which has not a subject and predicate of its 
own, is called a PHRASE ; 

e.g., the Administrator of Papua; 

at a meeting of villagers. 

A group of words which, as a group, forms the equivalent of a noun, 
adjective or adverb, and which has a subject and predicate of its own, 
is called a SUBORDINATE CLAUSE ; 

e.g., when you come. 

Compound and Complex Sentences. 

A COMPOUND SENTENCE consists of two or more clauses, each 
of which would make sense if spoken or written as an independent simple 
sentence. These clauses are called CO-ORDINATE CLAUSES, and 
they are linked together by Conjunctions which are called CO-ORDINATE 
CONJUNCTIONS; 

e.g., . You go this way and I will go that way. 

'A COMPLEX SENTENCE consists of one PRINCIPAL CLAUSE, 
which could stand by itself as a simple sentence, linked with one or more 
SUBORDINATE CLAUSES, which would not make sense if left to 



stand alone. The subordinate clauses may be linked to the principal 
clause either by a SUBORDINATE CONJUNCTION or by some other 
part of speech, such as an adverb or a pronoun; 

e.g., I will give you the book that you want when you come. 

Principal clause : I will give you the book. 
Subordinate clauses : that you want ; 
when you come. 

Idioms. 

Words are inclined to be unruly things. Sentences in which they 
break the rules, or in which they mean something different from what 
we should logically expect them to mean, are called IDIOMS. At least, 
that is what the word " idiom " should mean. But those who write 
books about foreign languages often use the word more loosely to include 
also sentences in which the words, though obeying their own rules, 
behave very differently from the way they would if they obeyed the 
rules of the mother-tongue of the writer of the book and those he is writing 
for. This use of the word is quite unreasonable, since we have no right 
at all to expect that the words of one language should obey the rules of 
another; but, in practice, it is rather convenient, because it is just those 
sentences in which the words behave differently from the way they would 
behave in the student's own language which need to be singled out for 
special attention and study. 



PART 1 



THE PARTS OF SPEECH 

I. THE ALPHABET. 

Motu has been reduced to writing by means of an alphabet of 
19 letters. These are : a, e, i, o, u, b, d, g, g, h, k, 1, m, n, p, r. s, 
t, v. There are also two compound letters : kw and irw. 

The VOWELS have the " continental " sounds, and each may be 
either long or short, i.e. : 

a as in " at " or as in " father " ; 

e as in " met " or as " a " in " mate " ; 

i as in " it " or as " ee " in " meet " ; 

o as in " on " or as in " tone " ; 

u as in '' put " or as " oo " in " tooth." 

The CONSONANTS are pronounced as in English, except for g, which 
bears the same relationship to ordinary g that the Scottish " ch " (as 
in " loch ") does to k. The pronunciation of this consonant can best 
be acquired by getting a Motuan to pronounce the common Motu word 
gau (thing), and imitating his pronunciation. 

r also differs slightly from English r, as it is not rolled, but approxi- 
mates to j in the Phonetic script. 

There are many DIPHTHONGS, e.g., ae, ai, ao, au, ei, eu, oe, oi, ou. 
The pronunciation of these can be found by blending the long values 
of the constituent vowels. Southern English and Australian speakers 
must distinguish carefully between long e and ei, and between long o 
and ou. Northern English and Scottish speakers will not have any 
difficulty in doing so. 

No two consonants ever stand together, and there are therefore no 
closed syllables. 

In speaking, when a word ending in a is followed by a word beginning 
in a or e, the first a is elided, 

e.g. vada e abia to vade abia. 

There is one important exception to this rule of elision, and this 
will be dealt with in due course. 

There is no fixed rule for Accent or Stress. Usually it is on the 
penultimate (i.e., the last syllable but one), but the exceptions are 
numerous, and can be learned only by listening to the conversation of 
Motu people. Motu is a less strongly accented language than. English, 
and beginners should endeavour to pronounce it as smoothly and evenly 
as possible. 

The accent may aft'ect the number of a very few nouns, 
e.g., hahine, woman : hahine, women, 
kekeni, girl ; k6keni, girls 

9 



10 Motu Grammar. 

2. THE PERSONAL PRONOUN. 

(a) Nominative 

(when the pronoun is the subject of the sentence). 

Singular. Plural. 

1st person lau, I ita, we (inclusive) 

ai, we (exclusive) 

2nd person oi, thou umui, you 

3rd person ia, he, she, it idia, they. 

The distinction between ita and ai is very important and must be 
thoroughly understood. An example will help to make it clear. Let us 
suppose that two Papuans find themselves with nothing to eat. We will 
call them A and B. A says to B, " We have no food. C probably has 
some. Let us go and ask him to give us some." So they go to C, and 
A says to C, " We have no food. Will you give us some ? " 

When A says to B, " We have no food," he means, " You and I have 
no food." This is " inclusive " (it includes the person spoken to), and 
in Motu A would say ita for " we." 

When A says to C, " We have no food," he means, " B and I have 
no food." This is " exclusive " (it excludes the person spoken to), and 
in Motu A would say ai for " we." 

(b) Accusative. 

(when the pronoun is the object of the sentence). 
These pronouns take the form of suffixes to the verb. 

Singular. Plural. 

1st -U, nie -da, us (inclusive) 

-mai, us (exclusive) 

2nd -mu, thee -mui, you 

3rd -a, him, her, it -dia, them 

(-ia when the verb 
ends in a). 
Examples : ia e ita-gu, he saw me ; 

lau na bota-ia, I hit him (or, unchivalrously, her) ; 
oi o utu-a, you cut it. 

(c) Possessive. 
Singular. Plural. 

1st lau-egu, mine iseda, ours (inclusive) 

ai-emai, ours (exclusive) 

2nd ci-emu, thine umui-emui, yours 

3rd iena, his, hers, its idia-edia, theirs. 

Note. For all kinds of food, a replaces e in the above table, thus, 
lau-agu, oi-amu, iana, etc. 



1st 

2nd 
3rd 



Motu 
(d) Reflexive. 



11 



Singular. 
sibogu, myself 

sibomu, thyself 
sibona, himself, etc. 



Plural. 

siboda, ourselves (incl.) 
sibomai, ourselves (excl.) 
sibomui, yourselves 
sibodia, themselves. 



3. THE VERB. 

In Motu, the verb-base itself does not alter, but mood, tense, person 
and number are expressed by particles and suffixes. These are, for 
convenience of reference, set out in tabular form hereunder; but it is 
important to note that they cannot stand alone, but only in conjunction 
with a verb. 



Particles, Present and Past : 

Singular. 
1st na 

2nd o 

3rd e 

Particles, Present and Past, Negative 

Singular. 
1st asina 



2nd 
3rd 



to or asio 
se or asine 



Particles, Future : 

Singular. 
1st baina 



2nd 
3rd 



ba 

baine 



Plural. 
ta (incl.) 
a (excl.) 
o 
e 

Plural. 
asita (incl.) 
asia (excl.) 
asio 
asie. 

Plural. 
baita (incl.) 
baia (excl.) 
ba 
bae. 



Notes. (1) To indicate immediate future the b is dropped and 
the particles become : aina, a, aine, aita, aia, a, ae. 

(2) When the second person particle ba (or a) is followed by a verb 
beginning with a, the two a's are not elided, as in other similar cases, 
but a v is inserted ; 

e.g., ba atoa becomes bavatoa. 

This is the exception to the general rule of elision referred to in Section 1 . 

(3) The 2nd and 3rd person Future particles are also used as 
Imperative particles. 



12 Motu Grammar. 

Particles, Future, Negative : 

Singular. Plural. 

1st basina basita (incl.) 

basia (excl.) 

2nd basio basic 

3rd basine basic 

Note. As in the positive, the 2nd and 3rd person particles are also 
used as Imperative particles. 
Particles, Conditional : 

Singular. . Plural. 

1st bama baitama (incl.) 

baiama (excl.) 

2nd boma boma 

3rd bema bema. 

Particles, Conditional, Negative : 

Singular. Plural. 

1st basinama basitama (incl.) 

basiama (excl.) 

2nd basioma basioma 

3rd basinema basiema. 

Note. The use of the Particles renders the Personal Pronouns 
redundant, and the latter are not generally used unless special emphasis 
is intended. 

The use of these PARTICLES constitutes the chief difference between 
the Motu of the Motuans and " police " Motuan. They are the backbone 
of the language, and anyone who wishes to understand and speak the 
real language, as opposed to its " pidgin " variety, must set himself to the 
task of learning them. 
Suffixes : 

There are two verbal suffixes, 

-va, indicating continuous action in the past ; 
-mu, indicating continuous action on the present. 

These are suffixed to the verb-base, and, in the case of transitive verbs, 
follow the accusative-pronoun suffix ; 

e.g., kara, to make or to do ; 

e kara-ia-va, he was doing it (or making it) : 
e kara-ia-mu, he is doing it (or making it). 

They follow also the final part of a compound verb, 
e.g. e lalo-a-tao-mu ; 

e ato-a-hata-va ; 
and even adverbs of manner, 
e.g. e gwau-heni-gu dikadika-va. 

Sometimes -mua is used instead of -mil, either for euphony, or in answer to a 
question, or when a thing happens at a distance. 

Conjugation of Verbs. 

To illustrate the way in which the above-listed particles and suffixes 
are used, two verbs will be used, one intransitive and one transitive. 
They are: 

Intransitive : gini, to stand. 

Transitive : kara-ia, to make or to do. 
For brevity the meaning " to do " will be used throughout. 



Mi it ii 



A. Indicative Mood. 

I >t!ll|ll 

thou standest 

h stands, she stands, it stands 

we stand (inclusive) 

we stand (exclusive) 

you stand 

they stand. 

I do it 

thou doest it 
he does it, etc. 
we do it (inclusive) 
we do it (exclusive) 
you do it 
they 'do it. 

I do not stand 
thou dost not stand 
he does not stand, etc. 
we do not stand (inclusive) 
we do not stand (exclusive) 
you do not stand 
they do not stand. 

I do not do it 



1. Simple Present : 

(lau) na gini, 
(oi) o gini, 
(ia) e gini, 
(ita) ta gini, 
(ai) a gini, 
(umui) o gini, 
(idia) e gini, 

Similarly : 

na karaia, 
o karaia, 
e karaia, 
ta karaia, 
a karaia, 
o karaia, 
e karaia, 

In the Negative : 
asina gini, 
to gini, 
se gini, 
asita gini, 
asia gini, 
asio gini, 
asie gini, 

Similarly : 

asina karaia, 

etc. 

Editor's Note. This, the simplest of all the tenses in Motu, is given by Turner and 
Clark as a past tense ; but I think that Dr. Lawes was right in regarding it as applicable 
to both present and past. In this connection it is interesting to note that the cognate 
language of Roro (spoken in the Yule Island district) has two sets of particles where 
Motu has only one. In the singular they are : Present, na, no, ne ; Past, a, o, e. As 
Turner and Clark point out, there is evidence of an obsolete particle ne behind the negative 
particle asine ; and it looks as if the present Motu particles are a corruption of what were 
originally two distinct series. 

2. Continuous Present : 

I am standing 
1st na ginimu 



2nd 
3rd 



o ginimu 
e ginimu 



ta ginimu (incl.) 
a ginimu (excl.) 
o ginimu 
e ginimu. 



1 [ Motu Grammar. 

Similarly : 

na karaiamu, I am doing it 
etc. 

In the negative : 

asina gin mu I am not standing 

etc., 
and 

asina karaiamu I am not doing it 

etc. 

3. Immediate Present : 

Lau ina gini, I am standing here now 

Oi ena gini, thou art standing there now 

la ina (or una) gini he is standing here (or there) now 

Ita ini gigini, we are standing here now (incl.) 

Ai ini gigini, we are standing here now (excl.) 

Umui ene gigini, you are standing there now 

Idia ini (or unu) gigini they are standing here (or there) now. 

The plural of this tense frequently drops the demonstrative and becomes : ita gigini, 

ai gigini, umui gigini, idia gigini ; but the demonstrative is always understood. The 
singular never drops it. 

This construction applies only to intransitive verbs and to adjectives used as 
predicates. In the plural, the first syllable is always duplicated, e.g., mamahata, sleep; 
raraka, walk; hehekure, lie down; memetau, heavy; kukurokuro, white; nanamo 
heherea, very good. 

Transitive verbs express the same tense as follows : 
Ina na karaimu, I am doing it here now 

Ena karaiamu, thou art doing it there now 

Una e karaiamu, he is doing it there now 

Ini ta karaiamu, we are doing it here now (incl.) 

Ini a karaiamu, we are doing it here now (excl.) 

Ene karaiamu, you are doing it there now 

Unu e karaiamu, they are doing it there now. 

4. Perfect Present: 

This is formed by placing the invariable particle vada in front of the Continuous 
Present. 

Vada na ginimu, I have stood (and I still standing) 

etc. 
Similarly: 

Vada na karaiamu, I have done it (and am still doing it) 

etc. 

The particle vada remains unchanged throughout all three persons in both singular and 
plural. This tense is generally used in answering a question. Vada also adds the sense 
of cessation of doubt. 

5. Perfect Continuous Present : 

Lau doini gini, I have been (and am still) standing 

Oi doene gini, thou hast been standing 

la dounu gini, he has been standing 

Ita doini gigini, we have been standing (incl. ) 

Ai doini gigini, we have been standing (excl.) 

Umui doene gigini, you have been standing 

Idia dounu gigini, they have been standing. 



Modi d ni in imir. 1") 

For transitive verbs : 

Doini na karaiamu, I have been (and am still) doing it 

Doene o karaiamu, them hast been doingjit 

Dounu e karaiamu, he has been doing it 

Doini ta karaiamu, we have been doing it (i n< !.) 

Doini a karaimu, we have been doing it (excl.) 

Doene o karaiamu, you have been doing it 

Dounu e karaiamu, they have been doing it. 

Intransitive forms may also follow the transitive usage instead of the one peculiar to 
themselves, thus : 

Doini na ginimu, I have been (and am still) standing 

etc. 

6. Simple Past : 

I stood 

1st na gini ta gini (ind.) 

a gini (excl.) 

2nd o gini o gini 

3rd e gini e gini. 

Similarly : 

na karaia, I did it 

etc. 

In the Negative : 

I did not stand 

1st asina gini asita gini (incl.) 

asia gini (excl.) 

2nd to gini asio gini 

3rd se gini asie gini. 

Similarly : 

asina karaia, I did not do it 

etc. 
Note, This tense has the same form as the Simple Present. 

7. Continuous Past : 

I was standing 

1st na giniva ta giniva (incl.) 

a giniva (excl.) 

2nd o giniva o giniva 

3rd e giniva e giniva. 

Similarly : 

na karaiava, I was doing it 

ere. 



16 \Io1u, Grammar. 

In tne negative : 

asina giniva, I was not standing 

etc. 
and 

asina karaiava, I was not doing it 

etc. 

8. Perfect Past : 

Vada na gini, I have stood (once only), or I had stood 

etc. 

Similarly : 

Vada na karaia, I have done it (once only), or I had done 

it 
etc. 

9. Perfect Continuous Past : 

Vada na giniva, I had been standing 

etc. 

Similarly : 

Vada na karaiava, I had been doing it 

etc. 

10. Simple Future : 

I shall stand 

1st baina gini baita gini (incl.) 

baia gini (excl.) 

2nd ba gini ba gini 

3rd baine gini bae gini 

Similarly : 

baina" karaia, I shall do it 

etc. 

In the negative : 

I shall not stand 

1st basina gini basita gini (incl.) 

basia gini (excl.) 

2nd basio gini basic gini 

3rd basine gini basie gini. 

Similarly : 

basina karaia, I shall not do it 

etc. 

11. Near Future : 

This is formed from the Simple Future by dropping the b of the 
particle, thus : 

aina gini, I shall stand now 

etc. 



Moln ('irnntiiiur. 17 

Similarly : 

aina karaia, I shall do it n<>\\ 

etc. 

12. Immediate Future : 

I am just going to stand 

1st ba ginimu baita ginimu (incl.) 

baia ginimu (excl.) 

2nd bo ginimu bo ginimu 

3rd be ginimu be ginimu. 

Similarly : 

ba karaiamu, I am just going to do it 

etc. 

Note. Vada added to the Simple Future indicates definite intention or determina- 
tion; 

e.g., % vada baina gini, I will stand 

vada baine karaia, he shall do it. 

Vada added to the Xear or Immediate Future expresses decision after doubt 
e.g., vada aina gini 

vada aita karaia 
vada be karaiamu. 

Do added to the Present or Future means yet ; 
e.g., do se karaia, he has not done it yet 

do baine karaia, he will yet do it, or 

he will surely do it. 

B. Subjunctive Mood. 

All tenses are covered by : 

If I stood, stand or should stand 

1st bama gini baitama gini (incl.) 

baiama gini (excl.) 

2nd boma gini boma gini 

3rd bema gini bema gini. 

Similarly : 

bama karaia, if I did it, do it, or should do it 

etc. 

In the negative : 

If I did not stand, do not stand or should not stand 
1st basinama gini basitama gini (incl.) 

basiama gini (excl.) 

2nd basioma gini basioma gini 

3rd basinema gini basiema gini. 



18 Mot u Grammar. 

Similarly : 

basinama karaia if I did not do it, do not do it or should 

not do it 
etc. 

C. Imperative Mood. 

The Imperative forms are identical with the 2nd and 3rd person, 
Fut ire forms. 

Simple Imperative : 

Singular, 2nd. ba gini stand 

3rd. baine gini let him stand 

Plural, 2nd. ba gini stand 

3rd. bae gini, let them stand. 

Similarly : 

ba karaia, do it 

etc. 
In the negative : 

Singular, 2nd. basio gini, don't stand 

3rd. basine gini, he is not to stand 

Plural, 2nd. basio gini, don't stand 

3rd. basie gini, they are not to stand. 

Similarly : 

basio karaia, don't do it 

etc. 
Immediate Imperative : 

This is formed by dropping the b from the particles in the above 
forms, thus : 

a gini, stand at once 

etc. 

Similarly : 

a karaia, do it at once 

etc. 
In the negative : 

asio gini, don't stand 

etc. 
Similarly : 

asio karaia, don't do it 

etc. 

These negative forms would be used when the person addressed 
showed signs of immediate action which it was desired to prevent. 

Note. The addition of vada to the Imperative indicates the removal of doubt, 
e.g., vada a karaia, never mind, you do it. 



Motu Gratnimtr. 



D. Infinitive Mood. 

There is no general form corresponding to the English Infinitive, 
but there is an " Infinitive of Purpose," which is formed (from transitive 
verbs only) by prefixing i- to the verb-base and suffixing one of the 
following suffixes, according to the number and person : -gu, -mu, -na, 
-da (inrl.), -mai (excl.), -mui, -dia ; 

e.g., ikarana, (in order) to do it (from kara-ia) 

iduruda, (in order) to help us (from duru-a). 
Examples of the use of this construction will be given in Part 2. 

In many other cases in which English uses an infinitive, Motu uses 
the future; 

e.g., e uramu baine helai, he wants to sit down 

na hamaoroa baine karaia, I told him to do it. 

E. Passive ; Reciprocal ; Reflexive. 

There is no true PASSIVE VOICE in Motu, but the Passive state 
is often expressed by prefixing he- to the verb-base ; 

e.g., kara, to do; hekara, to be done. 

Similarly : 

hetahu, to be sought; hedare, to be torn; helaoahu, to be 
hidden from view. 

These passive forms are used in conjunction with the various series 
of particles in exactly the same way as the active forms listed in 
Sections A, B, and C above; 

e.g., vada e hekara, it has been done. 

Editor's Note. This is one of the very few points on which I have the temerity to 
disagree with Messrs. Turner and Clark, and their predecessor, Dr. Lawes. I see no reason 
for not regarding the above construction as a " true Passive Voice." I think it is a fact, 
however, that Motuans always prefer the active form of expression, and use the passive 
as sparingly as possible. 

The passive conditional is sometimes used to offer a tentative suggestion, especially 
a suggestion by a junior to a senior, or by a member of the rank-and-file to one in 
authority ; 

e.g., bema hekara, would it not be a good idea to do so-and-so. 

The RECIPROCAL is expressed by adding to the passive form 
the word heheni, which is itself the passive form of the verb heni-a, to 
give ; 

e.g., duru-a, to help; e heduru heheni, they helped one another. 

With a repeated action, the verb-base may be duplicated ; 

e.g., badu, to be angry; e hebadubadu heheni, they kept on being angry with one 

another. 

The REFLEXIVE is expressed by the Reflexive Pronoun (q.v.) 
followed by the passive form of the verb ; 

e.g., sibogu na heiva, I cut myself (iva-ia, to cut). 



20 



Motn 



4. IRREGULAR, AUXILIARY, IMPERSONAL AND 
COMPOUND VERBS. 

A. Irregular Verbs. 
1. Mai, to come; lao, to go; gwau, to speak or say. 

These three verbs are regular when used with the suffixe* -m and 
-va, and also in the Subjunctive Mood. In other tenses they dro their 
final vowels, and it is customary to unite these shortened roots v^h the 
particles, writing particle and verb as one word. 

The second person (singular and plural) of the simple futui, near 
future and imperative are further irregular, infixing o between the ~. rticle 
and the verb. 

In view of their importance, the principal irregular tenses <' mai, 
to come, and lao, to go, are given in full hereunder. Gwau is >f less, 
importance, as a synonym, to, to say, is more commonly used. 

Simple Past : 



I came 



1st 

2nd 
3rd 

1st 

2nd 
3rd 



nama 

oma 
ema 

nala 

ola 
ela 



I went 



In the negative : 



I did not come 



1st 

2nd 
3rd 

1st 

2nd 
3rd 



asinama 

toma 
sema 

asinala 

tola 
sela 



I did not go 



Simple Future : 
1st 

2nd 
3rd 



I will come 



bainama 



baoma* 
bainema* 



tama (incl.) 
ama (excl.) 
oma 
ema 

tala (incl.) 
ala (excl.) 
ola 
ela. 



asitama (incl.) 
asiama (excl.) 
asioma 
asiema 

asitala (incl.) 
asiala (excl.) 
asiola 
asiela. 



baitama (incl.) 
baiama (excl.) 
baoma* 
baema* 




Mofa 



2\ 



I will go 



bainala 



baitala (incl.) 
baiala (exd.) 
baola* 
baela*. 






2nd baola* 

3rd bainela* 

In the nr.-;tive : 

I will not come 

1st basinama basitama (incl.) 

basiama (excl.) 

2nd basioma* basioma* 

3rd basinema* basiema :: . 

I will not go 

1st basinala basitala (incl.) 

basiala (excl.) 

2nd basiola* basiola* 

3rd basinela* basiela*. 

Not Forms marked with an asterisk (*) are also Imperative. 

Near Fuare : 

Thi tense is obtained by dropping the initial b from the above 
Simple liture forms. 

Not (the following special uses of the verb lao, to go. 

(1) i the sense of " to become." When used in this sense, the noun completing 
the sentere takes the postposition ai. 

e.g., Hesiai taunai ela, He became a servant. 

(taunai=taunaai) 

(2) i the compound form ha-lao-a, with the meaning of " to make " in the sense 
of " to tuse to become." Here also the noun completing the sentence takes the 
postpositn ai ; 

e.g., Hesiai taunai e halaoa, He made him a servant. 

2. ), to say, is a shortened form of toma, but the latter means " to 
think ''is well as "to say." 

Toia is used in all tenses except the Simple Past and Future. To 
is usedin the Simple Past and Future, and can also be used in the 
Continous Present, but never in the Continuous Past. Thus in the 
Continous Present there are two forms, natomu and na tomamu, but 
in the ontinuous Past only one, na tomava. 

Inview of its importance, the Simple Past and Future tenses of 
to will e given in full. As with mai and lao, it is customary to join the 
particl<and the verb to form one word. 



SimplePast : 



1st 



I said 



nato 



tato (incl.) 
ato (excl.) 



22 



Motu Grammar. 



2nd 
3rd 

1st 



oto 
eto 

asinato 



I did not sav 



2nd asioto 

3rd asineto 

Simple Future : 



I shall sav 



1st 

2nd 
3rd 

1st 



bainato 

baoto* 
baineto* 

basinato 



oto 
eto 

asitato (incl.) 
asiato (excl.) 
asioto 
asieto. 



baitato (incl.) 
baiato (excl.) 
baoto* 
baeto* 



I shall not say 



basitato (incl.) 
basiato (excl.) 
basioto* 
basieto* 



2nd basioto* 

3rd basineto* 

Forms marked with an asterisk are also imperative. 

Near Future : 

Omit the initial b from the above forms. 

3. diba, to know. This verb is used transitively with the meaning 
of " to get to know " or " to test." In this sense, it is conjugated 
regularly ; 

e.g., na dibaia I tested it. 

When used intransitively, it is irregular in the Simple Past and 
Present, with no particle but with the personal suffix of the person 
knowing. 

Simple Present and Past : 

I know or I knew 
1st dibagu dibada (incl.) 

dibamai (excl.) 

2nd dibamu dibamui 

3rd dibana dibadia. 

For emphasis, or in answer to a question, mai may precede these 
forms, thus : mai dibagu, mai dibamu, etc. 

In the negative : 

I do not know or I did not know 
1st asi dibagu asi dibada (incl.) 

asi dibamai (excl.) 

2nd asi dibamu asi dibamui 

3rd asi dibana asi dibadia. 



Motu Grammar. 'J3 

Other tenses are regular, thus, na dibamu. na dibava, baina diba, 
bama diba. 

.Vote. diba can also be used as an Auxiliary Verb (q.v.). 

4. Mai, with, and asi, without, take the place of the English veil. 
' to have." These are invariable, not changing with changing number 
and person; 

e.g., ia na mai ana aniani, he has food (lit. he with his food); 

ai na asi emai ira, we have no axes (lit. we without our axes). 

B. Auxiliary Verbs. 

1. There is no verb in Motu corresponding to the English verb 
" to be." 

Adjectival predicates, which in English would be preceded by a 
part of the verb " to be," are in Motu treated as if they were verbs, and 
are preceded by the appropriate particle; 

e.g., na manoka, I was weak; 
e goada, he was strong. 

In other cases, the particles na and be seem to stand in the place 
of the verb " to be " ; 

e.g., lau na tau, ia be hahine, I am a man, she is a woman; 
ia na tau badana, he is an elderly man. 

These particles are invariable, not changing with changing number and 
person. 

In the negative, the particle dia is used, following na or be ; 
e.g., ia na dia tau badana, he is not an elderly man. 

2. heni-a, to give, is used as an auxiliary verb with a number of 
different verbs, generally to express position or motion towards. Its 
use has the effect of rendering an intransitive verb transitive ; 

e.g., lao-henia, to go towards; mahuta-henia, to sleep on; noho- 
henia, to dwell in ; hereva-henia, to speak to ; gwau-henia, 
to scold; gini-henia, to stand beside; tore-henia, to 
write to ; etc. 

The particle stands before the first verb, and henia takes the 
accusative pronoun suffix; 

e.g., e hereva-henidia, he spoke to them. 

Notes. (1) When this construction is used with a compound verb, the auxiliary 
is infixed ; 

e.g., e toma-henia-diho, he worshipped him ; 

e gwau-henia-hamata, he promised him. 

(2) An exception to the rule that the auxiliary takes the suffix is 
e balaia-heni, he took care of it. 

3. diba, to know, is used as an auxiliary verb in the sense of " can," 
" able to." It takes the same irregular forms as when used as an 
intransitive verb. 



24 Motu Grammar. 

e.g., as auxiliary to an intransitive verb : 
ia na gini dibana, he can stand ; 
gini asi dibamu ? can you not stand ? 
asi gini dibagu, I cannot stand. 

As auxiliary to a transitive verb : 

ikarana* dibana, he can do it ; 
ikarana asi dibadia, they cannot do it. 

4. ura, to want, to wish, is also used as an auxiliary verb ; 

e.g., e uramu helai, ) , 

> he wants to sit down. 
helai e uramu, ; 

Editor's -Note. I would prefer to regard helai in the above examples as a verba 
noun, the object of e uramu. It is to be noted that, although ura has the form of an 
intransitive verb and does not take the accusative pronoun suffixes, it is frequently used 
as a transitive verb ; 

e.g., ikoko na uramu, I want some nails; 

na uramu oi, I want you. 

5. banava, to think mistakenly, is an auxiliary verb which is 
invariable and does not take the particles. It is always followed by the 
appropriate part of the verb to, to say, whi^h is usually placed at the 
end of r,he sentence; 

e.g., lau banava baine henigu nato, I thought he would give it to 
me (but he didn't) ; 

ia banava baine gui eto, he thought he would embark (but he 
didn't). 

6. ha, me, vasi. These three auxiliaries express position or movement. 

ha means to go to a distance, or to be at a distance, from both the speaker and the person 
spoken to ; 

me means to come to the speaker, or to be beside him ; 
vasi means to go to the person spoken to, or to be beside him ; 
e.g., e ha karaia, he did it at a distance, 

or, he went to a distance to do it ; 
e me karaia, he came here and did it, 

or, he did it here beside me ; 

e vasi karaia, he went to you and did it, 

or, he did it beside you. 

Notes. (1) The above auxiliary ha must not be confused with the causative prefix 
ha- referred to in the section on Compound Verbs. 

(2) me is also sometimes used to indicate the present tense; 
e.g., e me utua, he is cutting it. 

(3) vasi can also be used as an independent verb meaning movement towards 
the person spoken to ; 

e.g., baina vasi, I will come to you. 



* Infinitive of Purpose. 



Motu Grammar. 25 

C. Impersonal Verbs. 

1. lasihi-a, to be absent, is preceded by the nominative without 
a verbal particle, and either with or without the auxiliary na or be. The 
plural, for both persons and things, is lasihidia ; 

e.g., tauna na lasihia, the man is not here ; 

taunimanima lasihidia, there are no people here; 
vanagi na lasihidia, the canoes are not here. 

Editor's Note. I follow Messrs. Turner and Clark in classifying this as an Impersonal 
Verb, but they appear to have overlooked that it can be used in the 1st and 2nd persons 
also; 

e.g., nama, to oi lasihimu, I came but you were not here. 

It would probably be better to regard it as an Irregular Verb. 

2. mia, to remain, is sometimes used as lasihia is u.-r.l : 
e.g., gauna mia, the thing is still where it was. 

But it can also be used with third person particles, particularly in the 
future and imperative ; 

e.g., baine mia, let it remain where it is. 
It is never used with 1st or 2nd person particles. 

D. Compound Verbs. 

1. Verbs may be compounded with other verbs or with adverbs to form compound 
verbs. The accusative pronoun suffix is attached to the first part of the compound 
verb, but the " continuous time " suffixes -mil and -va are attached to the second part ; 

e.g., e helaia-tao, he sat on it (to keep it down) ; 

e helaia-taomu, he is sitting on it ; 
e helaia-taova, he was sitting on it. 

The use of such compounds is very common, and under such verbs as abi-a, to get, 
ato-a, to put, and kara-ia, to make, a very large number will be found in the Dictionary. 

2. Compound verbs may be formed by suffixing -lai-a (in a few cases -rai-a) to a 
verb-base. Added to intransitive verbs, it makes them transitive. Added to transitive 
verbs, it enables them to take an indirect as well as a direct object. In some cases the 
indirect object points to the instrument or agency of the action, the suffix corresponding 
in meaning to the English preposition " with." 

e.g., io magani na gwadalaia, I pierced the wallaby with a spear; (gwada-ia, to 

pierce). 

In other cases, the suffix appears to correspond in meaning to the English " about " ; 

e.g., vanagi memero na e hamaorolaidia, he told the boys about the canoe; 

(hamaoro-a, to tell). 
This significance also applies in the case of some intransitive verbs ; 

e.g., biaguna e maumauraia, he grumbled about his master; (maumau, to 

grumble). 

In other cases in which this suffix is added to an intransitive verb, it appears to 
correspond to the English non- instrumental " with "; 
e.g., e mailaia, he brought it, (i.e., came with it ; mai, to come). 

In a few cases this suffix takes the form -hai-a ; 
e.g., e laohaia, he took it, (i.e., went with it; lao, to go). 

3. Compound verbs may be formed by suffixing -tani-a to certain verb-bases. This 
suffix indicates motion away from ; 

e.g., e rakatanigu, he left me (lit. walked away from me); 

e heautanidia, he ran away from them ; 
e guitania, he sailed away from him (by canoe); 
e dihotania, she went down from him (used of a woman deserting her husband). 



26 M otu Grammar. 

4. Verbs may be formed by prefixing ha- to ether parts of speech, generally 
adjectives. This ha- is causative in effect; 

e.g., goeva, clean; hagoeva-ia, to cause to be clean (i.e., to cleanse). 

Sometimes the meanings of these compounds are metaphorical extensions of the 
literal meanings ; 

e.g., hanamoa, to praise, from namo, good; 

hamauria, to save, from mauri, life. 

. E. Special Usages. 

The following special usages should be carefully noted ; 

1. Verbs referring to hunger, cold, sickness, etc. 

e hitologumu, I am hungry (lit. it hungers me). 

Similarly : 

e goreregumu, I am ill ; 

e kerugumu, I am cold. 
Other objective suffixes can be used similarly. 

2. Verbs expressing feelings, e.g., of fear, shame or desire. 

ia ikarana urana e uramu, he wishes to do it ; 

e davaria hemaraina e hemaraimu, he is ashamed of having been discovered : 

ina ruma kwahina e kwahimu, he has respect for this house ; 

lau garigu e garimu, he is afraid of me. 

5. THE NOUN. 

Nouns may be either primitive (as au, tree ; nadi, stone) or derivative. 
Derivative nouns may be derived either from adjectives or verbs. 

Abstract nouns may be derived from adjectives without change in 
the form of the word ; 

e.g., goada, adj., strong; goada, noun, strength; 

dika, adj., bad; dika, noun, badness. 
Nouns may be derived from verbs in the following ways : 

(1) Without change to the form of the word; 
e.g., doko, to stop; doko, the end; 

dogo, to anchor; dogo, an anchor. 

(2) By prefixing i- to the verb -base; 
e.g.. gui-a, to tie; igui, a bundle; 

lapa-ia, to slash; ilapa, a long knife (for grass cutting). 

(3) By prefixing he- to the verb-base ; 
e.g., kaha-ia, to help ; hekaha, help; 

nari-a, to care ; henari, care ; 
regu-a, to feed ; heregu, sustenance. 

When the verb is compounded from the causative prefix ha-, the he- is infixed 
following the ha-, 

e.g., diba, to know; hadiba-ia, to teach ; hahediba, teaching ; 

mauri, life ; hamauri-a, to save ; hahemauri, salvation. 



Motu Graiiunar. 27 

(4) By duplication of the verb- base; 

e.g., tore-a, to write; toretore, the act of writing; 

rua-ia, to dig ; ruarua, the act of digging ; 

lapa-ia, to cut; lapalapa, the act of cutting; cf. ilapa, a long kniff. 

Note. The original meaning of tore-a was " to tattoo," but it is now commonly- 
used for " to write." 

Duplication of nouns may give (a) a diminutive significance ; 
e.g., kekeni, girl; kekeni-kekeni, little girl; 

or (6) a collective significance; 
e.g., hua, one banana fruit ; huahua, fruit in general. 

There is no grammatical GENDER in Motu. Natural gender may be 
indicated by using the nouns maruane, male, hahine, female, in the 
Possessive case (q.v.). 

In most cases NUMBER does not effect the form of the noun, e.g., 
hisiu, star, or stars. Generally the number is indicated by the context 
or by the form of some other word or suffix in the sentence. In cases of 
ambiguity, a quantitative adjective, such as ta, one, haida, some, momo, 
many, may be used; or na (sing), dia (plural), may be used as definite 
articles. 

As noted in Section 1, a very few nouns indicate number by accent; 
e.g., hahine, woman ; hahine, women ; 
kekeni, girl ; kekeni, girls. 

A few nouns have the first syllable duplicated to indicate the 
plural; 

e.g., tau, man ; tat an, men ; 

mero, boy ; memero, boys. 

Note. It is probable that those nouns in which plural is now indicated by accent 
originally came under this duplication rule. The singular for woman was probably 
hane, and for girl, kene. The former is still used in the idiom hane Motu, a Motu woman, 
hane Maiva, a Maiva woman, etc. The latter, east of Taurama Head, survives in a dupli- 
cated form as kenekene, girl; kekene, girls. 

Two irregular plurals should be noted : 

tauhau, youth ; plural, uhau ; 

haneulato, adolescent girl ; plural, ulato. 
CASE is indicated in a variety of ways, which will now be described. 

The NOMINATIVE is the case of the Subject of the Sentence. 
Generally it stands first in the sentence ; but, if there is any doubt, the 
particle na will be added if the verb is an intransitive one, and ese or se 
if it is a transitive one ; 

e.g., tau na vada ela, the man has gone; 

ruma na vada e ore, the house is finished ; 

hahine ese natuna e ubudiamu, the woman feeds her children : 

sisia ese boroma e koria, the dog bit the pig. 

The VOCATIVE is shown by e in entreaty or prayer, or in calling 
out a name ; or by o in crying or distress ; 

e.g., Lahui e, or e Lahui e, (calling a man named Lahui) ; 
Tamagu e, my father (in entreaty) ; 
Tamagu o, or tamagu o, (in distress). 



28 Motu Grammar. 

The ACCUSATIVE is the case of the Object, The Object generally 
follows the Subject and precedes the Predicate. The accusative-pronoun 
suffixes are added to the verb even when there is a noun as object; they 
serve to indicate the number of the object; 
e.g., hahine ese natuna e ubu-a, the woman fed her child ; 

hahine ese natuna e ubu-dia, the woman fed her children. 

In the singular these suffixes are always added. In the plural, 
they are used only for living creatures; for inanimate objects, the verb- 
base is used without any suffix ; 
e.g., kekeni ese nadi e gogo, the girls gathered stones. 

When it is desired to emphasize the object rather than the subject, the object 
may precede the subject in the sentence. In such cases the subject is indicated by ese, 
and the object by na ; 

e.g., normally, 

sisia ese boroma e koria, the dog bit the pig; 
but, if the speaker's interest is in the pig rather than the dog, 

boroma na sisia ese e koria, the dog bit the pig. 

The DATIVE is the case of the Indirect Object. The following 
verbs take two objects direct and indirect : 

heni-a, to give; verbs using henia as an auxiliary; and verbs 
compounded with the suffix -laia. The verbs hamaoro-a, 
to tell, and hadiba-ia, to teach, may also take two objects; 
but, more commonly, when it is desired that they should 
do so, the suffix -laia is added to them. 

In all these cases, the accusative-pronoun suffix agrees with the 
Indirect Object; 

e.g., tau ese mero na buka e henia, the man gave the boy a book ; 
or, if it is desired to emphasize the book rather than the boy, 

tau ese buka mero na e henia, the man gave the boy a book. 
In the next example the subject is ia, he, understood ; 

sivarai ta memero e tiamaorodia, he told the boys a story. 

With all other verbs the dative is expressed by a postposition (the 
Motu equivalent of an English preposition) governing the Indirect Object, 
while the accusative-pronoun suffix agrees with the Direct Object; 

e.g., sisia na hanua lohiana enai ba siaidia, send the dogs to the 
village chief. 

(enai here corresponds to the English preposition " to," but as it follows 
the noun it governs it is described as a postposition.) 

The GENITIVE or POSSESSIVE case is expressed in two ways : 

(1) By the Possessive Adjectives, ena, his, her, its, and edia, their, 
which precede the name of the thing possessed ; 

e.g., una tau ena ruma, that man's house ; 

hahine edia kiapa, the women's string bags. 

(2) By suffixing -na, his, her, its, or -dia, their, to the name of the 
person or thing " possessed." This construction is used in connection 
with parts of the body, personal and other intimate relationships, and 
nouns of location ; 



Alolu Grammar. 29 

mero sinana, the boy's mother ; 

boroma kwarana, the pig's head ; 

boroma k waradia, pigs' heads ; 

hahine natuna, the woman's child or children : 

ruma lalona, the inside of the house ; 

maua latana, the top of the box ; 

maua anina, the contents of the box. 

A.- will be noticed from the fourth example, the number of the suffix depends on the 
" possessor," not on the " possessed " ; " woman " being singular, the singular suffix 
is used, whether her offspring are one or many. 

This construction is extended to cover many cases in which in 
English two nouns would be used in juxtaposition or joined by ' ; of," 
as well as to cover meanings expressed in English by the -er sufiix: 

e.g., uda boromana, bush pig; 

boroma maruanena, male pig ; 
boroma hahinena, female pig ; 
au kerumana, the shade of the tree ; 
hanua tauna, villager ; 
hanua taudia, villagers. 

It will be noticed from the last two examples that the rule given for the true 
possessive is now reversed ; in cases such as this, the number of the suffix depends on the 
" possessed," not on the " possessor." 

The same construction can also be used with derivative nouns; 
e.g., hekaha tauna, a helper; 

hahediba taudia, teachers ; 
toretore gauna, a thing to write with : 
ruarua gaudia, digging implements. 

It can also be used with abstract nouns derived from adjectives; 
t'.u.. goada tauna, a strong man (lit. a man of strength). 

A closely similar construction is that in which the '' infinitive of 
purpose " takes the place of the first noun; 

e.g., iutuna gauna, a thing to cut it with. 

The construction may be still further extended to the first and 
second persons, using the appropriate personal suffixes ; 

e.g., hanua taumui e, you village people; 
dika taugu, (I am) a bad man, 
kavakava hahmemai, (we are) foolish women: 
idurumu taugu, (I am) your helper. 

Xotes. (1) When tail- is used in the above construction, taudia is common gender, 
the masculine form being tataudia. 

(2) When in this construction one noun is singular and the other plural, the suffix 
may be either singular or plural according to the emphasis desired. 

e.g., if the emphasis is on the canoe, 

vanagi larana, the sails of the canoe ; 
but, if the emphasis is on the sails, 

vanagi laradia, the sails of the can. a-. 



30 Motu Grammar. 

(3) In a few border-line cases, either of the two forms of the possessive may be 
used : 

e.g., kekeni ramina, or, kekeni ena rami, the girl's grass-skirt. 

(4) In some other cases, the two forms differentiate two meanings ; 
e.g., Morea sivaraina, Morea's story (i.e., the story about Morea); 

Morea ena sivarai, Morea's story (i.e., the story told by Morea). 

6. THE PRONOUN. 

The Personal Pronoun has already been dealt with in Section 2. 
The following notes deal with the remaining pronouns : 

1 . Interrogative : 

Daika ? Who ? Plural, Daidia ? 
Daika ena ? Whose ? Plural, Daidia edia ? 
Dahaka ? What ? 
Edana ? Which ? 
Edena ta ? Which other ? 
Ede a ? With which ? or By which ? 
Ede amo ? W T hence ? 
Note the following very important idiom : - 

Ladamu be daika? What is your name ? (lit. Who is your 
name ?) 

The answer would be : 

Ladagu na Vagi, My name is Vagi. 

If no answer were given at the first time of asking, impatience would be shown 
by varying the form of the question to Ladamu na daika ? Similarly, Oi be daika ? Who 
are you ? is a pure question; Oi na daika? indicates impatience. Oi daika? is an 
invitation to a quarrel. 

2. Relative : 

There are no relative pronouns in Motu. but the idiom is expressed 
by a clause followed by tauna, hahinena, or gauna, or their plurals; . 

e.g., sisia e alaia tauna, the man who killed the dog; 

umai e vara gaudia, the things which grew in the garden. 
In the plural, taudia is common gender, the masculine form being tataudia. 

Note. The Interrogative Pronoun is never used as a Relative. 

3. Demonstrative : 

ina, this ; ini, these ; (beside the speaker) ; 

ena, that ; ene, those ; (beside the person spoken to) ; 

una, that ; unu, those ; (away from both speaker and spoken 
to). 

The distinction between ena, ene, and una, unu, is one that has 
no equivalent in English, and must be carefully noted. 

4. Distributive : 

ta ta, each 

daika daika ? who ? 



Motn tTfnntinnf. 31 

ta ta ena ruma ena ruma ela, . h \\i-\\\ to his own hou 
daika daika baela ? who will go > (i.e., which individual- 
In sharing or dividing, the number i^ repeated and amo added; 
rua rua amo, two each (of thin:. 
rarua rarua amo, two by two 

Note also : 

ita ta, ai ta, one of us: 
umui ta, one of you; 
idia ta, one of them. 

5. Indefinite : 

.^>c Quantitative Adjectives (b) Indefinite. 

7. THE ADJECTIVE. 
1. Qualitative : 

The qualitative adjective follows the noun it qualifies, and may be 
either indefinite or definite. 

The indefinite form employs, in the singular, the simple form of 
the adjective, and, in the plural, a form obtained by duplicating the first 
syllable; 

e.g. s dabua kurokuro, white cloth ; 
au didika, bad trees. 

The definite form employs the suffixes -na and -dia, to indicate 
the number and to serve as definite articles; 

e.g., dabua kurokurona, the white cloth; 
au dikadia, the bad trees ; 
tau namona, the good man ; 
reirei severadia, the thin boards. 

The definite form is much the commoner of the two, and seems to be preferred by 
Motu speakers. 

An alternative construction to the above is that already described under Xouns, 
in which the" adjective " is used as an abstract noun with a second noun in the genitive; 

e.g., dika tauna, lit. man of badness, is an alternative to tau dikana. 

This construction is especially favoured in the 1st and 2nd persons; 
e.g., ai na dika taumai, we are bad men; 

umui na dagedage taumui, you are fierce men. 
The adjectival construction is not impossible, however; 
e.g., lau na natumu dikana, I am your bad son. 

Duplication of an adjective usually intensifies the quality ; 
e.g., kuro, whitish ; kurokuro, white; 

goeva, clean; goevagoeva, very clean. 

With some adjectives, however, duplication minimises the quality; 
e.g., auka, hard: auka-auka, not so hard : 

metau, heavy; metau-metau, not so heavy. 

*46120 IB 



32 Motu Grammar. 

There does not seem to be any rule to guide us as to which are intensified and which 
minimised. 

The duplicated forms of namo, good, and dika, bad, cannot be used as adjectives, 
but only as adverbs. The intensified forms of these adjectives are namo herea, very 
good, and dika rohoroho, very bad. 

-ka suffixed to the adjective always intensifies the quality, while mia before the 
adjective detracts from the quality. 

Note the following series as examples : 

(1) mia kuro, greyish; kuro, whitish; kurokuro, white; . kuroka-kuroka, 
dazzling white; 

(2) negari-negari, very clear (of water); negari, clear; duhuduhu, slightly 
cloudy; mia duhu, cloudy; duhu, muddy; duhuka-duhuka, very muddy. 

There are no Comparative and Superlative forms of adjectives in 
Motu. Consequently, the only way in which such a sentence as 

This is better than that 
can be expressed is by some circumlocution, such as 

Ina na namo herea, una na dia namo, 

This is very good, that is not good ; 
or 

Ina na namo herea, una na mia namo mo, 

This is very good, that is only fairly good. 

In addition herea, very, herea-ia, to exceed, hereadae, excellent, 
and goevadae, perfect, may be used in forming such circumlocutions. 

2. Quantitative : 

Quantitative Adjectives also follow the noun, and may be either 
Definite or Indefinite. 

(a) Definite. 

1, ta 6, tauratoi ' 11, gwauta-ta 

2, rua 7, hitu 12, gwauta-rua 

3, toi 8, taurahani etc. 

4, hani 9, taurahani-ta 

5, ima 10, gwauta 

20, ruahui, is an elision of rua ahui 

21, ruahui-ta 22, ruahui-rua 23, ruahui-toi, etc. 

30, toi-ahui 70, hitu-ahui 

40, hari-ahui 80, taurahani-ahui 

50, imahui 90, taurahani-ta-ahui 

60, tauratoi-ahui 100, sinahu-ta 

101, sinahu-ta dikoana ta, or, sinahu-ta mai ta 

102, sinahu-ta dikoana rua, or, sinahu-ta mai rua 

etc. 

200, sinahu-rua 300, sinahu-toi, etc. 

1,000, daha-ta 2,000, daha-rua, etc. 

10,000, gerebu-ta 20,000, gerebu-rua, etc. 

100,000, domaga-ta. 



Grammar. 33 

In counting persons, the numbers from two to eight have special 
forms as follows : 

-2. rarua 

3, tatoi 

4, hahani Similarly : 

'. laima 12, gwauta-rarua 

C, tatauratoi 13, gwauta-tatoi 

7, hahitu etc. 

8, tataurahani. 

\i>h ,v. (1) The special forms for six and eight are not used by all Motuans. 

(-) The form laima probably originated at a time when the word for five was lima 
(as it is in some other Melanesian languages), and the special form was lalima. 

The suffix -osi may be added to either series of numbers, acting 
more or less as a definite article, thus : 

things persons 

ruaosi, the two of them ; raruosi, the two of them ; 

toiosi, the three of them; tatoisi, the three of them; 

etc. 
Hona following the numbers signifies " only," thus : 

things persons 

rua hona, two only; rarua hona, two only; 

toi hona, three only; tatoi hona, three only; 

etc. 
'' One only " is tamona. 

Some Motuans say that in sixty, eighty and ninety, ahui is not used. For these 
three numbers they use : 60, rabu tauratoi ; 80, rabu taurahani ; 90, rabu taurahani-ta. 
But, if this was the original usage, it is not now adhered to by the younger generation of 
Motuans. 

The villages east of Taurama Head use rabu for all tens, thus : 10, rabu-ta ; 20, 
rabu-rua ; 30, rabu-toi, etc. These villages also do not use hitu, but say tauratoi-ta for 
.seven, and rabu-tauratoi-ta for seventy. 

Fish, pigs and wallaby are counted by the ordinary numbers to 9; 10 is bara-ta : 
-0, bara-rua ; but after 29 the ordinary number series is reverted to, i.e., toi-ahui, etc. 

Coconuts are counted by varo, strings, thus : 10 coconuts, varo-ta ; 20, varo-rua, 
etc. 

A special series is used for counting long articles, such as spears, poles, trees, houses 
and canoes. From 1 to 9, au- (tree) is prefixed to the ordinary number series, thus : 

auta, aurua, autoi, auhani, etc. 

10, adara-ta ; 11, adarata-auta, etc. 

20, rabu-rua ; 30, toi-ahui ; 40, hari-ahui ; 50, imahui ; 60, rabu-tauratoi ; 70, 
hitu-ahui ; 80, rabu-taurahani ; 90, rabu-taurahani-ta ; 100, slnahu-ta. 

The ordinal numbers are as follows : 

things persons 

1st gini gunana gini gunana 

2nd iharuana i ha rarua na 



34 Motu Grammar. 

3rd ihatoina ihatatoina 

4th ihahanina ihahahaniaa 

5th ihaimana ihalaimana 

etc. etc. 

Last gini gabena gini gabena. 

(b) Indefinite. 

ta, any haida, some 

dia ta, none hidaosi, some (things) 

idau ta, a different one hahidaosi, some (people) 

ma ta, another momo, many (things) 

ta ta, a few hoho, many (persons and things) 

gadoi, few dia hoho, not many 

kwabudia, a few diagau, many 

kwabukwabudia, a very few hutuma, very many (persons) 

logora, every one. 

As in English, all these Indefinite Quantitative Adjectives can also 
be used as Indefinite Pronouns. 

ibou-, all, and idoi-, the whole, both take the suffixes -na and -dia ; 
and when used as pronouns can also take the 1st and 2nd person suffixes. 
-gu, -mu, -da, -mai, -mui. They are always followed by ai: 

e.g., hanua idoinai, the whole village ; 

hanua idoidiai, the whole of the villages : 
hanua iboudiai, all the villages ; 
iboumui-ai ba raka, all of you will walk. 

3. Interrogative : 

Daikaena? Whose? Plural Daidia edia ? 
Dahaka? What ? 
Edana? Which? Plural. Ede? 
can be used as adjectives as well as pronouns. 

4. Demonstrative : 

Ina, ena, una, and their plurals, ini, ene, unu, already tabulated as 
Demonstrative Pronouns, can also be used as Demonstrative Adjectives. 
When so used, they precede the noun they qualify: 

e.g., (1) Ina na daika ena boroma ? This is whose pig : 

In this example ina is a Demonstrative Pronoun and daika ena an 
Interrogative Adjective. 

(2) Ina boroma be daika ena ? This pig is whose ? 

In this example ina is a Demonstrative Adjective and daika ena 
an Interrogative Pronoun. 

5. Possessive : 

As with the Possessive Case of Nouns, there are two forms, a general 
and a special. 



Mot ii firm,' mar. 35 

(1) General. The general form is as follows: 

Singular. Plural, 

egu, my eda, our (incl.) 

emai, our (excl.) 

emu, thy emui, your 

ena, his, her, ir> edla, their 

e.g., ina na egu boroma, this is my pi-. 

For emphasis, the forms given in Section '1 for the Possessive Case 
of the Personal Pronoun may be used, i.e.. lau-egu, oi-emu, etc.: 

e.g.. ina na lau-egu boroma, this is my pig. 

For all kinds of food and drink, a replaces e in the above form- : 
e.g., agu biku, my banana, or bananas; 

amui gwarume, your fish. 

Note. uru, generation, may take either a or e ; 
e.g., ana uru or ena uru, his generation. 

(2) Special. The special form, for all parts of the body, and personal 
relationships and attributes, consists of the suffixes -gu, -mu, -na, -da, 
-mai, -mui, -dia : 

e.g., Singular. Plural. 

imagu, my hand(s) imada, our hands (incl.) 

imamai, our hands (excl.) 

imamu, thy hand(s) imamui, your hands 

imana, his hand(s) imadia, their hands 

etc. 

For emphasis, the nominative personal pronoun may precede these 
forms ; 

e.g., lau imagu, oi imamu, etc. 
Note these further examples : 
aegu, my leg or legs ; 
bogamu, thy stomach ; 
lalona, his or her mind : 
turada, our friend or friends (incl.) : 
sinamai, our mother (excl.) ; 
tamamui, your father ; 
natudia, their child or children. 

The number of the noun, in cases where it is ambiguous, will generally 
be indicated by the accusative-pronoun suffix to the verb. 

Note. Inai, enemy, may either follow this special usage or take the form for food; 
e.g., inaigu or agu inai, my enemy or enemies. 

6. The Article : 

There are no words in Motu corresponding to the Indefinite Article, 
a, an, or the Definite Article, the: but in some instances there are words 



36 Motu Grammar. 

and suffixes that appear to perform the functions of those articles. Some 
of these have already been referred to. 

ta, one, is often used where in English we should use the Indefinite 
Article ; 

e.g., tail ta varani ema, a man came yesterday. 

As already noted, the suffix -osi has, in certain cases, the significance 
of a Definite Article ; na and dia may also be used where in English 
we should use " the " ; 

e.g., tau na be maimu, the man is corning; 

gau dia vada na davari, I have found the things. 
Hari, now, is often used with the significance of a Definite Article ; 
e.g., hari kekeni, the girl mentioned, or seen, today. 

Varani, yesterday, and vanegai, the other day, may be similarly used; 
e.g., varani boroma, the pig seen yesterday ; 

vanegai magani, the wallaby seen the other day. 

8. THE ADVERB. 

(a) Of Manner. 

like this, iniheto ; inihetomana ; ini - - toma* ; 

like that (beside you), eneheto ; enehetomana ; ene toma ; 

like that (yonder), unuheto ; unuhetomana ; unu toma ; 

whatever, ini unu ; 
as, na heto ; hegeregerena. 
:;: e.g., ini e karaia toma, he did it like this. 
hata, once ; harua, twice ; hatoi, thrice ; 
lou, again ; loulou, again and again ; 
hanaihanai, continually, eternally ; 
vaia, also vaevae, habitually. 

Many qualitative adjectives can be used without change of form as 
adverbs of manner ; 

e.g., haraga, quick (adj.), quickly (adv.); 

goeva, clean (adj.), cleanly (adv.). 
Duplication of the adverb generally intensifies the quality ; 
e.g., e raka haraga, he walked quickly; 

e raka haraga-haraga, he walked very quickly ; 
but'there are exceptions as noted under Adjectives. 

Note on namonamo and dikadika : As already noted under adjectives, these 
duplicated forms of namo and dika are adverbs only. But they do not, as might be 
expected, mean " well " and " badly." 

namonamo means " carefully " ; 
e.g., e karaia namonamo, he did it carefully ; 

cf., e karaia goevagoeva, he did it well (lit. cleanly). 

dikadika means " badly " only in the sense in which it is sometimes used in English, 
of " exceedingly " ; 



Motu Gramma i . 37 

e.g., e ura dikadikamu bainela, he wants badly to go 

(note also use of future in place of infinitive). 
For " he did it badly," a Motuan would probably say 
e hadikaia, he spoiled it. 

(b) Of Time, 
hari, also harihari, now ; 

hari ina neganai, just now; 
varani, yesterday ; 
kerukeru, tomorrow ; 

vanegai, the day before yesterday, or, the day after tomorrow (also 
used indefinitely for " a few days ago '*) ; 

varani vanegai, at some past time (indefinite) ; 

kerukeru vanegai, at some future time (indefinite) ; 

vainananegai, three days ago or hence; 

unananegai, four days ago or hence; 

do, still, yet; 

dohore, not yet, presently ; 

guna, also gunaguna, first ; 

dokonai, last. 

(c) Of Place. 

Here, inai ; binai (contracted from be inai) ; heina (answering 
a question) ; o ina (following a pronoun) ; iniseni (indefinite) : 
iniseni ai (definitely marking the place). 

There (beside you), enai ; benai (be enai) ; heena ; o ena ; eneseni ; 
eneseni ai. 

There (yonder), unai ; bunai (be unai) ; heuna ; o una ; unuseni ; 
unuseni ai. 

Wherever. Ini unu. 

Everywhere. Gabu iboudiai. 

Inside, lalomai. Outside, murimuri ai. 

Above, atai ai. Below, henu ai. 

In addition to the above, a number of Postpositions (q.v.) can also 
be used as Adverbs of Place. 

(d) Of Degree, 
mia, less ; 

herea, also diagau, very ; 
dikadika, also masemase, exceedingly; 
hereadae, also herea mikamika, excellently ; 
goevadae, perfectly; 
vaitani, also guguru, completely. 



38 Motu Grammar. 

(e) Of Reason, 
taunabinai ~"l 
taunabenai f therefore. 
taunnabunai J 

(f ) Of Affirmation, Negation and Doubt, 
oibe, yes; 

io, yes (in answer to a call) ; 

e, i, or (east of Taurama Head) 0, colloquial or affectionate assen 
lasi, no ; 

asi, not, also dia, not; 
momokani, certainly, truly; 
reana, perhaps; plural, readia ; 
sedira, " I'm not sure,"; occasionally, isedira. 

(g) Of Interrogation. 

A question is generally indicated by inflection of the voice, but 
the following may also be used at the end of the question : 

a ? for any question ; 

ani? when an affirmative answer is expected, 
e.g., mai amui aniani a ? have you any food ? 

mai amui aniani ani ? you have some food, haven't you ? 
How ? Edeheto ? Ede toma ? 

When ? Edana negai? Aidana negai? (jeeringly). 
Where? Ede? Edeseni? (general). Edeseni ai ? (in particular). 
Bedaina? pi. Bedaidia? (of persons only). 

Why ? Dahaka dainai ? Badina be dahaka ? Edeheto ? 

Examples : 

Gorere tauna be edeheto ? How is the sick man ? 

Ede baine karaia toma ? How will he do it ? 

Edana negai baoma ? When will you come ? 

Edebolaomu? Where are you going ? 

Mero na edeseni ? Hanuai. Edeseni ai? Vagi ena rumai. 

Where is the boy ? In the village. W T hereabouts ? In Vagi's house. 

Dahaka dainai o kara kavamu ? 1 

Badina be dahaka o kara kavamu ? > Why are you acting so foolishly ? 

kara kavamu badina be dahaka ? J 

Edeheto to hamaorogu ? Why did not you tell me ? 

(h) Relative. 

There are no Relative Adverbs in Motu. Constructions similar 
to those already noted as taking the place of Relative Pronouns are 
used, i.e., clauses followed by gabuna (place), negana (time), badina 
(reason), and their plurals; 



Muf'i fjrmnmar. 3? 

e.g., boroma e mase gabuna, the place where the pig died : 

lagatoi ema negadia, tin- timr- when the trading canoes came; 

ena mai badina, th- reason why he came (lit. the reason of his 
coming). 

9. THE POSTPOSITION. 

Postpositions are Motu words that do the work that is done in 
English by Prepositions, but which, instead of preceding the nouns or 
noun-equivalents with which they are associated, as in English and 
other European languages, follow them: hence their nam-. 

ai, in, on, at, from. 

This basic postposition is used by itself, with one or other of the 
meanings given above ; and it can also be suffixed to a number of other 
words, generally nouns of location, to form what may be described as 
Compound Postpositions. One or other of the personal suffixes (-gu, 
-mu, -na, -da, -mai, -mui, -dia) follows the word with which ai is 
compounded, and is itself followed by the ai. In the case of the third 
person suffixes, singular and plural, the suffix and ai are elided ; thus 
-na ai becomes -nai and -dia ai becomes -diai. Similarly, in the 1st 
person plural inclusive, -da ai becomes -dai. In the following list, these 
compound postpositions are shown in their person singular form, except 
for the last two, which, from their nature, cannot be used in the singular 
and are therefore given in their third person plural form : 

lalonai. inside ; 
murimurinai, outside; 
murinai, behind; 

vairanai, in front (from vaira, face) ; 
henunai, below; 
daenai, above; 
latanai, on ; 

dekenai, beside, at (persons only) ; 
dekedekenai, close beside (persons only) : 
badi badinai, beside (persons or things) ; 
enai, beside, at, to (persons only) ; 
inikahanai, this side of; 
enekahanai, on your side of; 
unukahanai, on the other side of; 
dainai, also bagunai, because of, for the sake of; 
padadiai, also ihuadiai, between : 
bogaragidiai, among, in the midst of. 
Examples : 

kone ai, on the beach ; 

davarai, in the sea ; (elided from davara ai) ; 

maua lalonai, in the box ; 



40 Motu Grammar. 

maua latanai, on the box ; 
hanua murimurinai, outside the village ; 
lau dekegu-ai, beside me ; 

sinavai unukahanai, on the other side of the river 
umui daimui-ai, because of you ; 
du padadiai, between the piles. 

The following postpositions take the personal suffixes but not ai : 
totona, for the purpose of; (syn. helaoreana) ; 
dekena, to towards; (of persons only). 

Examples : 

gadara totona ama, we came for the purpose of playing ; 
biagumu dekena baola, go to your master. 

Note that when " to " or " towards " refers to a place, not a person, 
no postposition is used at all ; 

e.g., hanua baola, go to the village. 

The following postpositions remain to be noted : 
a, from, by, with, (instrument) ; 
amo, from, (of direction places) ; 
ena amo, from, (of direction persons) ; 
Ida, with, accompanying, (non-instrumental). 

Examples : 

Hanuabada amo nama, I came from Hanuabada ; 

Gavana ena amo nama, I came from the Governor ; 

Io a na gwadaia, I pierced it with a spear ; 

Memero ida baita haoda, We will go fishing with the boys. 

Note. Many Motuans do not recognise the distinction between amo and a. Some 
use them indiscriminately ; some use amo for both meanings ; some of the villages east 
of Taurama Head use a for both meanings. But the distinction between instrumental 
a or amo and the non-instrumental ida is strictly maintained and should be carefully 
noted, as either may be the equivalent of English " with." 

10. THE CONJUNCTION. 

(a) Co-ordinate, 
bona, and, (joining clauses); 
mai, and, (joining words and phrases); 
ma, and, in the sense of " and in addition," moreover; 
bena, and, then; 
a, but (of comparison) ; 
to, but (of explanation) ; 
eiava, or. 



Motu Grammar. 41 

(b) Subordinate. 

ema bona, until, (of events in the past) ; 
ela bona, until, (of events in the future) ; 
badina, also badina be, and madi be, because. 
(Note. Some Motuans reject madi be as a corruption.) 

The above are all used as in English ; but those that now tollow 
require special notes as to their usage. 

ena be - to, though ; 

Ena be introduces the subordinate clause, and to the principal clause. 
The subordinate clause must always comefr*t ; 
e.g., Ena be baine alagu to baina abidadama henia . 

Though he slay me, yet will I trust him. 

garina, lest. 

This comes at the end of the subordinate clause it " introduces " ; 
e.g., Basio ania, ba mase garina ; 

Do not eat it lest you die. 

bema, if. 

In most cases the use of the subjunctive mood renders a conjunction unnecessary in 
sentences in which, in English, a subordinate clause is introduced by " if." But Motuans 
sometimes use the 3rd person subjunctive particle bema as a conjunction followed by a 
verb in the indicative mood. In such cases, the subordinate clause introduced by bema 
always precedes the principal clause. 

11. THE INTERJECTION. 

Are ! of fear ; 

Eke ! of surprise ; 

la ! of dissent, (pronounce iya) ; 

Ihi ! of satisfaction at accomplishment, Ah ! 

Ina ! of disappointment or reproof, Oh ! 

Inai ! of amazement, Oh ! 

Madi ! of pity, Poor thing ! 

Madi o ! Alas ! 

Matona ! Well then ! I told you so ! 

Matogana ! Well then ! Who knows ! (of ignorance) ; 

Benaini ! That's right'! Never mind ! 

Hunama ! Gammon ! 

Vadaeni ! Enough ! That'll do ! Never mind ! 



PART 2 



SYNTAX 

1. THE SIMPLE SENTENCE. 

A number of typical simple sentences have already appeared in 
Part 1. All that need be done here is to summarise a few rules for the 
construction of these sentences. 

1. The normal word order in Motu is : Subject Object (or objects, 
if there are both direct and indirect ones) Verb. 

Occasionally, for emphasis, the Object may precede the Subject. 
For particles indicating Subject and Object in such cases, see Part 1, 
Section 5. 

2. When the Subject is a Personal Pronoun, it is generally omitted, 
being inferred from the form of the verbal particle, but it may be included 
for emphasis, or to distinguish between singular and plural in the second 
and third persons. 

3. Qualitative and Quantitative Adjectives follow the Noun they 
qualify. Interrogative, Demonstrative and Possessive Adjectives precede 
it. 

4. Adjectives may be used as Predicates. In the plural of the 
present tense they duplicate their first syllable. 

5. Adverbs of Manner derived from Qualitative Adjectives follow 
the Verb, and are so closely linked with it that the " continuous tense " 
suffixes -mu and -va are suffixed to the adverb, not to the verb. 

Adverbs of Time precede the Verb. 

The use of Adverbs of Interrogation is fully illustrated in Part 1, 
Section 8 (g). Note that edeheto comes at the beginning of the sentence 
when it means " why ? ", and at the end of the sentence when it means 

'' how ? " 

No fixed rule can be given for the remaining classes of adverbs. 

6. Postpositions, as explained in Part 1, always follow the Noun 
they govern. 

7. In asking a question, the order of the words in the sentence is 
not altered. The question is indicated either by the inflection of the 
voice, or by the use of a? or ani? (see Part 1, Section 8 (g). 

Note. Negative questions are answered in a different manner in 
Motu from that in which they would be answered in English. Thus, the 
question 

la na asinema a ? Hasn't he come ? 
would be either 

Oibe, meaning " Yes, he hasn't," 
or 

Lasi, vada ema, No, he has come. 
42 



Mot it Grumm'ir. 43 

2. COMPOUND SENTKM B8, 

These present no difficulty. As in English. th-y ron*i>t 't' two 
or more independent clauses linked together by a co-ordinate Conjunction ; 
p.p.. Mokona na mase, to ia ese e hamaurigu . 

I nearly died, hut lit- s.-m-d MIC. 

3. COMPLEX SENTENCES. 

(a) Adjectival Clauses. 

Adjectival clauses are introduced by relative pronouns, and the 
construction used in Motu has been explained in Part 1, Section 6 (2). 
It is only necessary to give a few examples of its use; 

Boroma e alaia tauna na vada ema ; 

The man who killed the pig hus come. 

Dina siahuna ese umai e vara gaudia vada e hadika ; 

The sun's heat has spoiled the things that grew in the garden. 

The nouns used in constructing these clauses need not necessarily 
he limited to tauna, hahinena, gauna and their plurals. A large range 
of nouns can similarly be used : 

e.g., Biku e ani ore boromadia na vada e heau boio ; 

The pigs that ate up the bananas have run away. 
Habai e tauadae laulauna na vada e moru ; 

The picture he hung on the wall has fallen. 

Sote. It will be noticed that in three of the above examples na is 
used as a connective particle between the principal and subordinate 
clauses. This usage is very common in all types of Complex Sentences. 

(b) Adverbial Clauses. 

1 . Clauses of Time : 

Five forms are to be noted, three in reference to present and past 
time and two in reference to future time : 

(i) Present and Past, Simple. The personal suffixes are 
attached to the verb-base and followed by ai ; 

e.g., Mahutagu ai natugu e mase ; 

While I slept my child died. 

(ii) Present and Past, Continuous. The continuous forms of 
the verb are followed by ai ; 

e.g., Na mahutamu ai vadivadi e maimu ; 

Visitors are always coming when I am asleep. 
Na diguvai tamagu ema ; (note elided a) ; 
My father came while I was bathing. 

(iii) Present and Past, Definite. The time clause is followed 
by neganai or its plural; 

e.g., E ginidae neganai na noga ; 

I awoke when he arrived (i.e., at the momeiit or 
his arrival). 



44 Motu Grammar. 

(iv) Future, Simple. The time clause is followed by ai na ; 
e.g., Lai baine namo ai na bae heau ; 

When the wind is good, they will set sail. 

la bainemai na baina hamaoroa ; (note elided a) : 

When he comes I will tell him. 

(v) Future, Definite. The time clause is followed by neganai na ; 
e.g., Lai baine namo neganai na bae heau ; 

Immediately the wind becomes good, they will 
set sail. 

la bainema neganai na baina hamaoroa ; 

The moment he comes I will tell him. 

2. Clauses of Place : 

These have gabunai, place, following the clause, and the main 
predicate is always at the end of the sentence : 

e.g., E moru gabunai e rakatania ; 

He left it where it fell. 

3. Clauses of Cause : 

These are introduced by badina, badina na, badina be, or madi be 

The subordinate clause may either precede or follow the principal clause ; 

e.g., Na lolomu badina na ia taiana e kudima ; 

I am shouting because he is deaf. 

4. Clauses of Purpose : 

These have totona following the clause, which may either precede 
or follow the principal clause ; 

e.g., Boroma ta ba henigu totona nama ; 

I came in order that you might give me a pig. 

Clauses of purpose are not common, however, in Motu, purpose 
being more often expressed by phrases embodying, in the case of trans- 
itive verbs, the infinitive of purpose, and, in the case of intransitive verbs 
the simple verb-base. Totona may or may not be added to these phrases : 

e.g., Boroma iabina nama, or, Boroma iabina totona nama ; 

I came to get the pig. 

la na digu ela, or, la na digu totona ela ; 

He went to bathe. 

The form without totona indicates a more definite expectation of achieving 
the purpose than that with it. 

5. Clauses of Consequence : 

These are introduced by bena or taunabinai (also taunabenai and 
taunabunai), and follow the principal clause; 

E siaigu bena nala ; 

He sent me, so I went. 

E dadabagu taunabinai na taimu ; 

He beat me and therefore I am crying. 



Mi it n (1 mm mar. 45 

6. Clauses of Concession : 

These are introduced by ena be, and are followed by the principal 
clause introduced by to. The subordinate clause must always come 
first; 

er.g., Ena be ba heau boio, to baina davarimu ; 

Though you run away (lit. run lost), I shall find you. 

7. Clauses of Condition : 

These are expressed by putting the verbs of both the subordinate 
clause and the princi i><il clause in the Subjunctive Mood. The subordinate 
clause mus c always come first; 

e.g., Boma noia bema henimu ; 

If you beg him, he will give it to you. 
In the negative, 

Basioma noia, basinema henimu ; 

If you do not beg him, he will not give it to you. 

S. Clauses of Comparison : 

These have na heto or hegeregerena following the clause. Hegere- 
gerena implies a closer and more literal resemblance than na heto. The 
subordinate clause may either precede or follow the principal clause ; 

e.g. Ba durugu, kakagu o durua hegeregerena ; 
Help me as you helped my eldest brother. 
Tamana ese natuna e bogadiahisi na heto, lehova e>3 ia e 
matauraiamu taudia unu e bogadiahisi tomamu ; 

As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that 
fear him. 

(c) Direct and Indirect Speech. 

Direct Speech : 

Biagugu eto, Baina karaia ; 

My master said, I will do it. 

Indirect Speech : 

Biagugu eto baine karaia, 
or, Biagugu baine karaia eto ; 

My master said he would do it. 

Indirect speech is frequently used in reporting isolated remarks ; 
but in reporting a long speech, or in narrating a story, direct speech is 
generally used. 

(d) Dependent Commands, Petitions and Questions. 

Dependent Command : 

E hamaorodia kekeni ana bae henia ; 

He told them to give the girl some food. 

(Note again the use of the Motu Future in place of the English Infinitive, 
already referred to in Part 1.) 



46 Motu Grammar. 

Dependent Petition : 

E noia baine bamoa eto ; 

He begged him that he might accompany him. 
(Note the use of eto here, as in Indirect Speech.) 

Dependent Question : 

Oi dibamu ia be daika ? 

Do you know who he is ? 



A BASIC MOTU 
DICTIONARY 



By 
Percy Chatterlon, L.C.P. 



FOREWORD 



This short vocabulary of approximately 1,000 
common words has been prepared, at the request of 
the Department of Education of the Territory of 
Papua-New Guinea, for the convenience of those who 
require a smaller and more easily consulted vocabulary 
than the very comprehensive one prepared by R<-\ -. 
R. L. Turner and J. B. Clark. 

Entries have been kept as terse as possible, and 
grammatical labels have only been used in cases where 
there would otherwise be ambiguity. 

In cases where nouns and verbs are normally used 
with personal suffixes, the third person singular form 
of the suffix is shown hyphened to the noun or verb in 
question. With verbs, the presence or absence of this 
suffix indicates whether the verb is transitive or 
intransitive. 

Numerals are not included in this vocabulary. The 
"Grammar" may be consulted for a list of them; but 
most Papuans nowadays are familiar with the English 
numerals. 

P.O. 



49 



ENGLISH-MOTU 



A 

a, an ta 

about (nearly) sisiva-na 

above ... ... ... ... ... atai ai 

accuse ... ... ... ... ... e habadelai-a 

accusation hahebade 

act (noun) kara 

act (verb) e kara 

add e habou-a 

advice sisiba 

advise e sisiba heni-a 

afraid e gari 

after, afterwards murinai, gabeai, gabeamo 

afternoon adorahi, dina gelo-na 



again 



lou 



age (in years) lagani 

ago (of time) vada ela 

agree ... ... ... ... ... lalo tamona 

all ... ... ... ... ... idoi-nai, ibou-diai 

almost ... ... ... ... ... mokona, kahira-kahira 

alone ... ... ... ... ... sibo-na 

also ... ... ... ... .*. danu 

although ena be -to 

always nega idoi-nai 

among bogaragi-diai 

and nmi, bona, ida 

anger ... ... ... ... ... badu 

angry ... ... ... ... ... e badu 

another ma ta 

answer (noun) haere 

answer (verb) e haere 

ant dimairi (small black) 

birairo (soldier) 
mudumu (white) 

appear (in sight) e hedinarai 

arm ima 

armlet (plaited) gana 

armshell toea 

arrow diba 

as (of comparison) ... ... ... na heto 

ashamed e hemarai 

ashes (of fire) gahu 

ask (intransitive) e henanadai 

ask (transitive) e nanadai-a 

51 



52 English-Motu Dictionary. 

at ai 

attack ' e heatu heni-a 

aunt ... ... ... ... ... lala-na (father's sister) 

sina-na lahai-na (mother's sister) 

away -oho 

axe ira 



B 

back (of thing) muri-na kaha-na 

back (of person or animal) doru-na 

bad dika 

bag (as rice bag) puse, iuda-uda 

bag (string) kiapa 

bag (string, used as cradle) ... ... ihui 

bake (food) e gabu-a 

bake (pots) e tunu-a 

bamboo baubau 

banana (plant) dui 

banana (fruit) ,. biku 

bandicoot mada 

bark (of tree) kopi-na 

bark (of dog) e kwaru 

basket ... ... ... ... ... bosea 

bat (animal) ... ... ... ... sisiboi 

bathe ... ... ... ... ... e digu 

battle ... ... ... ... ... tuari 

bay (geog. ) dogudogu 

beach ... ... ... ... ... kone 

beads ... ... ... ... ... ageva 

beat (strike) e bota-ia, e kwadi-a, e dadaba-ia. 

beautiful mai hairai-na 

because badina, madi be 

because of dai-nai, bagu-nai 

before (of place) vaira-nai 

before (of time) ... ... ... guna 

beg e noi-a 

beggar... ... ... ... ... noinoi tau-na, noi hegame tau-na 

begin e matama-ia 

beginning matama-na 

behind ... ... ... ... ... muri-nai 

believe e kamonai, e abi-a dae 

bell gaba 

below henu ai 

beside badi-nai, badibadi-nai 

betel nut buatau 

between ihua-diai,. pada-diai 

big ;. bada 

bird manu 

bite . e kori-a 



English-Motu Dictionary. 53 

black korema 

blind (without sight) mata kcpulu 

blood ... ... ... ... ... rara 

blow (of wind) e toa 

blunt ... ... ... ... ... asi mata-na, asi gano-na, bum 

board reirei 

boast ... ... ... ... ... e heagi, e hekokoroku 

body tau ani-na 

boil (intransitive) e daidai 

boil (transitive) e nadu-a 

bone turia 

born e vara 

borrow e abi torehai 

both ruaosi (of things) 

raruosi (of people) 

bottle kavabu (glass) 

ahu (gourd) 

bottom henu-nai, kunu-nai 

bow (to bend down) e toma diho, e igo diho 

bow (for shooting arrows) peva 

box maua 

boy mero; plural, memero 

branch rigi 

brave haheauka 

break (intransitive) e makohi 

break (transitive) e hamakohi-a 

breathe ... ... ... ... e laga 

bridge nese hanai 

bright hururu-hururu, kiama-kiaraa 

bring e mailai-a 

broom darodaro gau-na, buriki 

brother (of a male) tadi-na (younger) ; kaka-na (older) 

brother (of a female) taihu-na 

build e hagini-a, e hadai-a 

bundle ikumi 

burn (intransitive) e ara 

burn (transitive) e hara-ia, e dou-a 

burst (intransitive) ... ... ... e pou 

burst (transitive) ... ... ... e hapou-a 

bury ... ... ... ... ... e guri-a 

bush (forest) uda 

but a, to 

butterfly kaubebe 

by (beside) badibadi-nai 

by (instrumental) a, amo 



C 

call (noun) boiboi 

call (verb) .* e boiri-a 



54 English'Motu Dictionary. 

call (to name) e hato-a 

calm (of sea) vea, gaima 

canoe vanagi 

carefully ... ... ... ... namonamo 

carry e hua-ia, e dibu-a, e gei-a, e ehe-a 

cassowary ... ... ... ... kokokoko 

catch ... ... ... ... ... e abi-a, e gobe-a 

cause (noun) ... ... ... ... badi-na 

cause (verb) ... ... ... ... e havara-ia 

cave ... ... ... ... ... kohua 

certain (sure) ... ... ... ... momokani 

chair ... ... ... ... ... helai gau-na 

chase (verb) ... ... ... ... e lulu-a, e hava-ia 

cheap ... ... ... ... ... dava-na maragi 

chief (noun) ... ... ... ... lohia, lohiabada 

child ... ... ... ... ... natu-na 

choose ... ... ... ... ... e abi-a hidi 

church ... ... ... ... ... dubu 

claw ... ... ... ... ... kahau 

clay ... ... ... ... ... raro 

clean goeva-goeva 

clear (of water) negari 

clever aonega 

climb e dara dae 

clock dina gau-na 

close (shut) e kou-a 

close (near) kahira-kahira 

cloth, clothes dabua 

cloud ori 

coast kone 

coat hahedoki 

cockatoo ... ... ... ... karai 

coconut ... ... ... ... niu 

coconut oil dehoro 

cold keru, keruma 

comb iduari 

come e mai-mu 

come in e raka vareai 

come out ... ... ... ... e raka lasi 

company ... ... ... ... orea 

companion ... ... ... ... bamona 

complain ... ... ... ... e maumau 

completely guguru, vaitani 

cook (by boiling) e nadu-a 

cook (by baking) ... e gabu-a 

cool ... ... ... ... ... keruma 

corner ... ... ... ... ... daiguni 

cost .... ... ... ... ... dava-na 

count . . e duahi-a 



English-Alotu ]j-ti<>i>ai'{. 00 



crab ... ... ... ... ... bava, tlubara 

crack (noun) maka, parara 

crack (verb, transitive) e haparara-ia 

crack (intransitive) e parara 

crawl erau 

crayfish ura 

crocodile huala 

cross (verb) e hanai-a 

crowd hutuma 

cruel dagedage 

crush (verb) e moi-a tao 

cry (verb) e taitai 

cup kehere, kebere 

cuscus vaura 

cut ... ... ... ... ... e utu-a, e iva-ia 



D 

dance mavaru 

danger hahedika 

dark dibura 

daughter natu-na kekeni-na 

day dina 

dead e mase 

death mase 

dear (expensive) dava-na bada 

dear (beloved) lalokau 

debt abi torehai 

deceive... ... ... ... ... e koi-a 

deception koikoi 

decide lalo-na e hadai-a 

deep (of water) dobu 

destroy e bua-ia tari 

die e mase 

different '.. idau-idau 

difficult ... ... ... ... auka 

dig egei-a 

dirt ... ... ... ... ... miro 

dirty mai miro-na 

disagree e hepapahuahu 

disappear e puki 

disobey e gwau edeede 

dish nau (pottery), dihu (wooden) 

distant daudau, dauhai 

ditch dadaira, koupa 

divide ... e hari-a 

do e kara-ia 

dog sisia 

door iduara 

down . diho 



56 English-Motu Dictionary. 

draw (a picture) e tore-a 

draw (water) ... ... ... ... e utu-a 

dream nihi 

dress dabua 

drink e inu-a 

drive (chase) e lulu-a 

drop (intransitive) e moru 

drop (transitive) e hamoru-a 

drown e maloa 

drum gaba 

dry kaukau 

duck mokoraha 

dugong rui 

during lalo-nai 

dust , kahu 



E 

each ta ta 

ear taia 

earth (soil) ... ... ... ... tano 

earth (world) ... ... ... ... tanobada 

east ... ... ... ... ... mairiveina 

easy haraga 

eat e ani-a 

edge ise-na 

egg gatoi 

elbow diu 

empty asi ani-na 

end doko-na 

endless ... ... ... ... asi doko-na, hanai-hanai 

enough ... ... ... ... davana 

equal ... ... ... ... ... hegeregere 

escape ... ... ... ... ... e roho mauri 

evening ... ... ... ... adorahi 

ever (for ever)... ... ... ... hanai-hanai 

every ... ... ... ... ... ibou-diai 

everybody ... ... ... ... taunimanima ibou-diai 

everything ... ... ... ... gau ibou-diai 

exactly ... ... ... ... dodi-nai 

eye ... mata 



F 

face ... ... ... ... ... vaira 

faith ... ... ... ... ... kamonai, abidadatna 

fall ... ... ... ... ... e keto, e moru 

family ... ... ... ... ... iduhu 

fan ... ... ... ... ... itapo 

far . daudau 



Englisk-Mottt Dirt In /////. 57 



fast ............... haraga-haraga 

fat ............... digara 

father ............... tama-na 

father-in-law ............ rava-na 

fault ............... kerere 

fear ............... gari 

for fear of ......... gari-na 

feast ............... aria 

feather ............ manu hui-na 

feel ............... e dau-a toho 

fence ... ... ... ... ... ara, magu 

few ............... gadoi 

fight ............... e heatu 

fill ............... e hahonu-a 

find ... ... ... ... ... e davari-a 

finger ............... ima kwaki-kwaki-na 

finish ... ... ... ... ... e haore-a, e haguguru-a 

fire ............... lahi 

fish (noun) ... ... ... ... gwarume 

fish (verb) ............ e haoda 

fisherman ............ haoda tau-na 



flat ............... palaka-palaka 

flesh ............... hidio 

float (verb) ... ... ... ... e hure 

flower ... ... ... ... ... au bure-na 

fly (insect) ............ lao 

fly (verb) ............ e roho 

flying fox ............ mariboi 

follow ............... e gava-ia 

food ............... aniani 

foolish ............... kavakava 

foot ... ... ... ... ... ae palapala-na 

footstep ......... ... ae gabu-na 

foreign ............... nao 

foreigner ............ tau nao 

forest ............... uda 

forget ............... e lalo-a boio 

forgive ... ... ... ... ... e lalo-a nege, e gwau-a tao 

fork ............... diniga 

fresh ... ... ... ... ... mat a mat a 

friend ............... tura-na 

friendship ............ hetura 

frighten ............ e hagari-a 

frog ...... ' ......... parapara 

from ............... amo 

front ................ vaira 

fruit ............... au huahua-na 

full . honu 



58 English-Mote Dictionary. 



game (play) gadara 

garden uma, sega 

gate ikoukou, iduara 

gather e habou-a 

gentle manada 

gently metaira 

get ... ... ... ... ... e abi-a 

girl ... ... ... ... ... kekeni 

give ... ... ... ... ... e heni-a 

glad moale 

glass (mirror) ... ... ... ... hevarivari 

go ... ... ... ... ... e lao-mu 

God ... ... ... ... ... Dirava 

good namo 

good-bye ba mahuta 

goods kohu 

govern e halohia-ia 

grass rei, kurukuru, masia, siriho 

grass-hopper kwadi 

gravel miri 

great bada 

green gadoka-gadoka 

ground tano 

grow (of plants, etc.) e vara, e tubu 

grow up (of children) e badaoho-badaoho 

guilty e kerere 

gun ... ... ... ... ... ipidi 



H 

hair hui 

half ... ... ... ... ... kahana 

hand ... ... ... ... ... ima palapala-na 

hang ... ... ... ... ... e tau-a dae 

happen ... ... ... ... e vara 

happy ... ... ... ... ... moale 

hard ... ... ... ... ... anka 

harm ... ... ... ... ... dika 

hat ... ... ... ... ... kwara gau-na 

hawk ... ... ... ... ... kipa (land), bogibada (sea) 

he ia 

head ... ... ... ... ... kwara 

heap ... ... ... ... ... senu 

hear ... ... ... ... ... e kamonai 

heart ... ... ... ... ... kudou 

heavy ... ... ... ... ... metau 

help (noun) ... ... ... ... hekaha, heduru 

help (verb) e kaha-ia, e duru-a 



I,i>glish-Motu Dictionary. 59 

her (objective pronoun) -a, -ia (suffixed to verb) 

her (adjective) ena, ana (of food) 

hers iena, iana (of food) 

herself ... ... ... ... ... ia sibona 

here ... ... ... ... ... iniseni ai 

hide (intransitive) ... ... ... e komu 

hide (transitive) ... ... ... e huni-a 

high ... ... ... ... ... lata, atai ai 

hill ... ... ... ... ... ororo 

him -a, -ia (suffixed to verb) 

himself ia sibona 

hire e hoi-a asi 

his (adjective) ena, ana (of food) 

his (pronoun) iena, iana (of food) 

hit e bota-ia 

hold e dogo-a tao 

hole guri (in ground) ; matu (in board, etc.) 

holiday laga ani 

honest kara maoro-maoro 

horn ... doa 

hot siahu 

house rurna 

how ? edeheto ? 

how many ? hida ? 

how much ? hida ? 

hungry hitolo 

hunt labana 

hunter labana tau-na 

hurry e haraga, e kara haraga 

hurt e hahisi-a 

husband . adava-na 



I 

I lau 

idea ... ... ... ... ... lalo-hadai 

iguana ... ... ... ... ... ariha 

if bema 

ill gorere 

immense ... ... ... ... gaubadabada 

impossible asi dala-na 

in ai 

inside lalo-nai 

instead of gabu-nai, ibolo-na 

into ai 

iron ... auri (introduced) 

island motumotu 

it (subject pronoun) ia 

it (object pronoun) -a, -ia (suffixed to verb) 

its (adjective) ena, ana (of food) 



60 English-Motu Dictionary. 

its (pronoun) iena, iana (of food) 

itself . ia sibona 



J 

jealous vagege, mama, gahusi 

join ... ... ... ... ... e siriu-a 

joke ... ... ... ... ... hevaseha 

journey laolao 

joy ... ... ... ... ... moale 

judge (verb) ... ... ... ... e hahemaoro 

judge (noun) hahemaoro tau-na 

jump ... ... ... ... ... e roho 



K 

keep e abi-a 

kick ... e laha-ia 

kill e ala-ia mase 

kind (sympathetic) hebogahisi 

king gaubada, lohiabada 

knee ... ... ... ... ... tui 

kneel tui-na e hadai 

knife kaia 

knock (at door) e pidipidi 

know diba-na 

knowledge aonega 



L 

lake ... ... ... ... ... gohu 

land tano 

language ... ... ... ... gado 

large bada 

last gabe-na, doko-na 

last night boi hanuaboi 

late e halahe 

laugh e kiri 

law taravatu 

lead (verb) e hakau-a 

leader ... ... ... ... ... hahekau tau-na 

leaf ... ... ... ... ... au rau-na 

learn e hahediba 

leave (not take away) ... ... e rakatani-a 

leave (go away) ... ... ... e raka oho 

left (opposite of right) lauri 

leg ae 

lend ... ... ... ... ... e heni-a torehai 

lest ... ... ... ... ... gari-na (at end of clause) 

letter . , revareva 



English -Motu Dictionary. 61 



lie (lie down) ... ... . ... e hekure 

lie (an untruth) koikoi 

lie (to tell an untruth) e koikoi 

light (not heavy) haraga 

light (not dark) diari 

light (a lamp) e hara-ia 

like (adverb) bamo-na, na heto 

like (verb) e ura heni-a 

listen e kamonai 

little maragi 

live (not die) e mauri 

live (dwell) e noho 

lizard vaboha, variga, hohoduks 

long ... ... ... ... ... lata, daudau 

look at ... ... ... ... e ita-ia 

look for ... ... ... ... e tahu-a 

look after ... ... ... ... e nari-a 

loose ... ... ... ... ... manoka, heruha 

lord ... ... ... ... ... lohiabada 

lose ... ... ... ... ... e haboio-a 

lost ... ... ... ... ... e boio 

lot (of) ... ... ... ... momo 

loud ... ... ... ... ... rege-na bada 

love ... ... ... ... ... e ura heni-a, e lalokau heni- 

low , henu ai 



M 

mad kava 

madman kava tau-na 

magic mea 

magician mea tau-na 

make ekara-ia 

man tau; plural, tatau 

man (collective) taunimanima 

many momo, hoho, hutuma 

mango vaivai 

mark (noun) toana 

marriage headava 

marry e headava 

mast au tubua 

master biaguna 

mat geda 

me ... ... ... ... ... -gu (suffixed to verb) 

meaning (noun) ani-na 

measure (noun) hahetoho 

measure (verb) ... ... ... e hahetoho-a 

meat ... ... ... ... ... vamu 

medicine muramura 

meet . e hedavari 



62 English- Mot u Dictionary. 

mercy hebogahisi 

merry ... ... ... ... ... moale 

messenger ... ... ... ... hesiai tau-na 

midday ... ... ... ... dina tubua 

middle ... ... ... ... ... bogaragi-na 

midnight malokihi 

milk rata 

mind (take care of ) e nari-a 

mind (pay attention to) ... ... e lalo-a 

mine lauegu, lauagu (of food) 

miss ... ... ... ... ... e rea-ia 

mistake kerere 

mix ... ... ... ... ... e bulo-a 

month hua 

moon ... ... ... ... ... hua 

morning daba 

mosquito namo 

mother sina-na 

mother-in-law rava-na 

mountain ororo 

mouth udu 

move (intransitive) e marere 

move (transitive) e hamarere-a 

much ... ... ... ... ' ... momo 

mud ... ... ... ... ... kopukopu 

my ... ... ... ... ... egu, agu (of food) 

myself ... ... ... ... ... lau sibogu 



N 

nail (carpenters) ikoko 

nail (finger or toe) kahau 

name ... ... ... ... ... lada-na 

narrow hekahi 

near kahira 

nearly kahira-kahira, mokona 

neck ... ... ... ... ... alo 

need (to be in) e dabu 

nest manu ruma-na 

net (fishing) reke, varo 

net (pig or wallaby) huo 

never nega ta lasi 

new ... ... ... ... ... matamata 

next (as in " next week ") ... ... vairai 

night ... ... ... ... ... hanuaboi 

no lasi 

nobody... ... ... ... ... asi tau-na 

no one asi tau-na 

nothing asi gau-na 

ndise helogo-helogo, rege-na 



English-Moln D'u-tin, 63 



north ... ... ... ... ... mirigini 

north-west lahara 

nose udu buulmu 

now (at present) harihari 





oar bara 

obey ekamonai 

off -oho 

offer ... e dudui-a 

often nega momo 

oh! inai! ia! 

old (not new) guna-na 

old (not yonng) buruka 

on ... ... ... ... ... lata-nai 

once ... ... ... ... ... nega tamona 

one ... ... ... ... ... ta, tamona 

only mo, hona 

open e keho-a 

or eiava 

order (noun) hahegani 

order (verb) e hagani-a 

other ma ta 

others ma haida 

oar (inclusive) eda, ada (of food) 

our (exclusive) emai, amai (of food) 

ours (inclusive) iseda, isada (of food) 

ours (exclusive) ai emai, ai amai (of food) 

ourselves (inclusive) ita siboda 

ourselves ^exclusive) ai sibomai 

out, out of -lasi 

outside murimuri ai 

over (finished) e ore, e doko 

over (on the other side) unukahai 

over (from one side to the other) . . . hanai 

owl baimumu 

owner biagu-na 



P 

pack ... ... ... ... ... e kumi-a 

package ... ... ... ... ikumi 

paddle (noun) hode 

paddle (verb) e kalo-a 

pain ... hisihisi 

pair ruaosi (of things); raruosi (of people) 

part (portion) kaha-na 

pass (verb) e hanai-a 

path dala 

* 461 20 3 



64 English-Mote Dictionary. 

patience haheauka 

pay dava-na e heni-a 

payment dava-na 

peace maino 

pelt e hodo-a 

people ... ... ... ... ... taunimanima 

perfect goevadae 

perhaps sedira, reana 

pickup abi-aisi 

picture laulau 

piece ... ... ... ... ... taina 

pig ... ... ... ... ... boroma 

pity (noun) hebogahisi 

pity (verb) e boga-ia hisi 

what a pity madi 

place gabu 

plant (verb) e hado-a 

plate ... ... ... ... ... mereki (introduced) 

play e gadara 

please (make glad) ... ... ... e hamoale-a 

if you please ... ... ... mani emu(i) kara 

plenty ... ... ... ... ... momo 

point (noun) ... ... ... ... mata-na 

point (verb) e duanai-a 

poor (not rich) ogogami 

poor (of sympathy) madi 

possible mai dala-na 

pot uro 

potato (sweet) kaema 

pour e sei-a 

praise e hanamo-a 

pray e guriguri 

present (gift) ... ... ... ... barman gau-na, herahia gau-na 

presently ... ... ... ... dohore 

pretty ... ... ... ... ... mai hairai-na 

prevent e ru-a, e lao-a ahu 

price ... ... ... ... ... dava-na 

prison dibura ruma-na 

prisoner dibura tau-na 

promise (noun) gwau hamata 

promise (verb) e gwau hamata 

protect ... ... ... ... e gima-ia 

proud e heagi 

pride heagi, hekokoroku 

prove * e hamomokani-a 

pull e veri-a 

push e dori-a 

put ... e ato-a 



/"</i>'*}t-Motu Dictionary. 65 



Q 

quarrel (verb) e heai 

question (noun) henanadai 

< t ue>tion (verb) c nunadai-a 

quick haraga 

quietly asi regerege-na 

quite vaitani 



R 

rain medu 

raise eabi-aisi 

rat bita 

reach (arrive at) e ginidae 

read e duahi- 1 

n-ady hegaegae 

real korikori 

receive e abi-a dae 

red kakakaka 

reef moemoe 

refuse e dadarai-a 

remember e lalo-a tao 

reply haere 

re-rue e hamauri-a 

rest (repose) laga ani 

rest (remainder) ore-na 

rich (not poor) taga 

right (opposite of left) idiba 

right (opposite of -wrong) macro 

ring (a bell) e tou-a 

rise (verb) ... ... ... ... e dae 

river sinavai 

road dala 

roar e lolo 

rob e henao-a 

robber henao tau-na 

rock nadi 

roll up (a mat) e loku-a 

roof guhi 

room (of house) daiutu 

root ramu 

rope kwanau 

rough (not smooth) rigika-rigika 

round kuboro 

row (a boat) e bara 

rule (law) taravatu 

rule (measure)... ... ... ... hahetoho 

run . e heau 



66 English-Motu Dictionary. 



sacred helaga 

sad lalo hisihisi 

sago ... ... ... ... rabia 

sail (noun) lara 

sail (verb) e heau 

salt damena 

salt-water tadi 

same ... hegeregere-na 

sand raria 

satisfied (mentally) lalo-na e hegeregere 

satisfied (hunger abated) boga kunu 

saw (tool) iri 

say ... ... ... ... ... e to (usually written " eto ") 

scraps (of food) bahu 

sea davara 

seashore kone 

secretly hehuni 

see e ita-ia 

sell e hoi-a 

seller hoihoi tau-na 

send e siai-a 

separate (verb) e hidi-a 

separately sibo-na sibo-na 

serve (give service) ... ... ... isiai-na e laoheni 

serve (food) e dabara-ia 

servant hesiai tau-na 

set (of sun) (dina) e diho 

several haida, ta ta 

shadow laulau 

shake (intransitive) e marere-marere, e heude-heucle 

shake (transitive) e hamarere-a 

shame hemarai 

shape oromana 

sharp (of an edge) ... ... ... gano, mai gano-na. mai mata-na 

sharp (of a point) mai mata-na 

sharpen e sege-a 

she ia 

shell koukou 

shine ... ... ... ... ... e hururu-hururu (of a polished surface) 

e tara (of the sun) 
e rara (of the moon) 
e kiama (of the stars) 

ship lagatoi 

shirt hahedoki 

shoe tamaka (introduced) 

shoot (with a gun) e pidi-a 

shoot (with arrows) e taraki-a 

shore . kone 



k it'll i'.<h-Motu Dictiowr;/. 67 

8 hort kwadogi 

shoulder paga 

shout e lolo 

show e haheitalui-a 

shut e kou-a 

sick (ill) e gorere 

sick (vomiting) e mumuta 

sickness gorere 

side ohe-na, kaha-na 

silly kavakava 

sing (anc) e abia 

sink (intransitive) e mutu 

sister (of a female) tadi-na (younger), kaka-na (older) 

sister (of a male) taihu-na 

sit ehelai 

skin (noun) kopi-na 

skin (verb) e kopa-ia 

sky guba 

sleep e mahuta 

slip e dedidedi 

slippery dedika-dedika 

slow(ly) metaira-metaira 

small maragi 

smell (noun) bona-na 

smell (transitive verb) ... ... e bona-ia 

smoke (noun) kwalahu 

smoke (to smoke tobacco) (kuku) e ani-a 

smoke (to smoke fish) (gwarume) e nono-a 

smooth manada 

snake gaigai 

so taunabinai, taunabenai, taunalmnai 

soft manoka-manoka 

soldier tuari tau-na 

some haida 

sometimes nega haida 

son natu-na maruane-na 

soon asivanaha-na 

sore toto 

sorrow lalo hisihisi 

sound (noun) rege-na 

south diho kaha-na 

south-east laurabada 

splash ... ... ... ... ... e pisipisi 

speak ehereva 

spear io 

speech hereva, haroro 

spirit lauma 

spoil (verb) e hadika-ia 

spoon bedi 

stand e gini 



68 English-Motu Dictionary. 

stand up e toreisi 

star hisiu 

start (verb) e matama-ia 

stay (verb) e noho 

steal e henao-a 

steam varahu 

steep e hekei 

steer (a boat) e tari-a 

stick (noun) au 

stick (walking-stick) ... itotohi 

stick (transitive verb) e kapa-ia tao 

stick (intransitive verb) s ... ... e hekamo 

still (of time) do 

still (not moving) ... se marere 

stir ( of food, etc.) e bulo-a 

stone nadi 

stop (intransitive) e doko 

stop (transitive) e hadoko-a 

store (food) ... roge 

storm guba 

story sivarai 

straight maoro-maoro 

straighten e hamaoromaoro-a 

strange idau 

stream sinavai 

street ariara 

strength goada 

strengthen e hagoada-ia 

stretch (verb) e haroro-a 

strike (verb) e bota-ia 

string ... ... ... ... ... varo 

strong ... ... ... ... ... goada 

succeed ... ... ... ... e kwalimu 

sun dina 

sunshine dina e tara 

sure momokani 

surprise hoa 

sweep e daro-a 

swim e nahu 

sword ilapa 



T 

table pata 

tail (of animal) ... ... ... iu-na 

tail (of bird) dubi-na 

take ... ... ... ... ... e abi-a, e laohai-a 

talk (noun) here va- here va 

talk (verb) e hereva-hereva 

tall , lata 



Dictionary. 



taste (noun) ............ mami-nu 

taste (verb) ............ e mami-a toho 

teach ............... ehadiba-ia 

teacher ............ hahediba tau-na 

tear (of weeping) ......... iruru mata-na 

tear (verb) ............ e dare-a 

tell ............... e hamaoro-a 

tempt ............... e dibagani-a 

temptation ............ hedibagani 

tent ............... kalaga 

thank ............... e hanamo-a 

that ............... ena, una 

tlu-ir ............... edia, adia (of food) 

theirs ............... idia edia, idia adia (of food) 

them ... ... ... ... ... -dia (suffixed to verb) 

themselves ... ... ... ... idia sibodia 

then ... ... ... ... ... bena 

there ............... eneseni ai, unuseni ai 



they ............... idia 

thick ............... uduna 

thief ............... henao tau-na 

thin ............... severa-severa (of things) 

varoda-varoda' (of people) 

thing ............... gau 

think ............... elalo-a 

thirsty ............... ranu mase 

this ... ... ... ... ... ina 

those ............... ene, unu 

though ............ ena be -- to 

thought (noun) ......... lalo hadai 

through ... ... ... ... hanai 

throw ............... etaho-a 

thunder ............ guba e rahu-a 

tie (verb) ............ e kwatu-a, e gui-a. e mata-ia 

tight ............... auka 

time ............... nega 

tide (high) ............ davara e hagaru 

tide (low) ............ komada e kui 

tired ............... tau boera 

today ............... hari dina 

toe ............... ae kwakikwaki-na 

together ............ hebou 

tomorrow ............ kerukeru 

tongue ............... mala 

tonight ............ hari hanuaboi 

too ............... danu 

tooth ............... ise 

top ............... atai kaha-na, dori-na, kwara-na 

on top of ......... lata-nai 



70 EngUsh-Motu Dictionary. 

torn e hedare 

touch e dau-a toho 

towards ... ... ... ... deke-na (of people only) 

travel ... ... ... ... ... elaolao 

traveller ... ... ... ... laolao tau-na 

tree au 

true ... ... ... ... ... momokani, korikori 

truth ... ... ... ... ... hereva momokani 

trust (noun) ... ... ... ... abidadama 

trust (verb) e abidadama heni- a 

try e kara-ia toho 

turn (intransitive) e hegiro, e gini kerehai 

turn (transitive) e giro-a, e siva-ia 

turtle . matabudi 



U 

umbrella damaru (introduced) 

uncle ... ... ... ... ... tama-na lahai-na (father's brother) 

vava-na (mother's brother) 
under ... ... ... ... ... henu-nai 

understand ... ... ... ... diba-na, lalo-na e parara 

untie ... ... ... ... ... e ruha-ia 

until ... ... ... ... ... ema bona (in past) 

ela bona (in future) 
untrue ... ... ... ... ... koikoi 

up dae 

us -da (inclusive) 

-mai (exclusive) 
use e gaukaralai-a 



V 

valley koura 

veranda dehe 

very herea, dikadika 

village hanua 

visit e igo-a ita 

visitor vadivadi tau-na 

voice gado 



W 

wait (for) e nari-a 

wake (intransitive) e noga 

wake (transitive) e hao-a 

walk e raka 

wall haba 

wallaby magani 

want (desire) e ura heni-a 




Kitl>'.<l'.-M, t t>i Dictionary. 71 

want (need) e dabu 

war timri 

warm ... ... ... ... ... siahu 

warn ... ... ... ... ... c sisiba heni-a 

wash c huri-a 

waste e hapotapetalai-a 

watch (intransitive) e hegima 

watch (transitive) ... ... ... c gima-ia 

watchman hegima tau-na 

water ranu (fresh); tadi (salt) 

wave hurehure 

way dala 

we ita (inclusive) 

ai (exclusive) 

weak manoka 

weaken e hamanoka-ia 

weigh metau-na e hahetoho-a 

weight ... ... ... ... ... metau-na 

welcome (verb) e abi-a dae 

well (adverb) namonamo 

well (of water) ranu guri-na 

west kunududu 

wet paripari 

what ? dahaka ? 

when ? edana negai ? 

when (relative) nega-nai 

where ? edeseni ai ? 

where (relative) gabu-nai 

which ? edana ? edena ? 

which (relative) gau-na 

while nega-nai 

white kurokuro 

who? whom? daika ? (singular) ; daidia ? (plural) 

who, whom (relative) tau-na (singular); tau-dia (plural) 

whose ? daika ena ? daidia edia ? 

whole idoi-nai 

why ? dahaka dainai ? 

wicked dika 

wickedness kara havara, lebulebu 

wide ... ... ... ... ... lababa-na bada, gamoga bada 

width lababa-na 

wife adava-na 

wild uda gau-na 

win (intransitive) ... ... ... e kwalimu 

wind lai 

window ... ... ... ... gabamauru 

wise aonega 

wisdom aonega 

wish (noun) ura 

wish (verb) ... ... ... ... e ura 



72 English- Motu Dictionary. 

with (accompanied by) ida 

with (instrumental) ... ... ... a, amo 

without ... ... ... ... asi 

woman ... hahine 

wonder (noun) hoa 

wonder (verb) ... ... ... e hoa 

wood au 

word hereva 

work (noun) gaukara 

work (verb) e gaukara 

worker gaukara tau-na 

world tanobada 

worry (noun) lalo hekwarahi 

worry (verb) lalo-na e hekwarahi 

wound (noun) bero 

wound (verb) e habero-a 

wrap e kumi-a 

write e tore-a 

writing toretore 

wrong kerere 



Y 

yam ... ... ... ... ... maho 

year ... ... ... ... ... lagani 

yellow labora 

yes ... ... ... ... ... oibe 

yesterday ... ... ... ... varani 

yet ... ... ... ... ... do 

you ... ... ... ... ... oi (singular) ; umui (plural) 

young ... ... ... ... ... matamata 

young man ... ... ... tauhau (unmarried) ; uhau (plural) 

eregabe (married) 

young woman ... ... ... hane-ulato (unmarried) ; ula to (plural) 

eregabe (married) 

your ... ... ... ... ... emu (singular) ; emui (plural) 

yours ... ... ... ... ... oiemu (singular) ; umui emui (plural) 

yourself ... ... ... ... oi sibomu 

yourselves ... ... ... ... umui sibomui 



MOTU-ENGLISH 



a but, from, with, by 

abi-a to get, to take 

abidadama trust, faith, strength 

abi-a dae to receive, to accept, to entertain 

abi-a hidi to choose 

abi-a isi to pick up 

abitorehai debt 

ada our (incl.) of food only 

adava-na husband, wife 

adia their (food) 

adorahi afternoon 

ae leg 

ageva beads 

agu my (food) 

ahu lime, also the gourd in which it is kept. 

ai we (excl.), also in 

ai emai ours (excl.) 

ai amai ours (excl.) of food only 

aio-na neck 

ala-ia to kill 

amai our (excl.) of food only 

amo from, with, by 

ana his (food) 

ane song, hymn 

ani-a to eat 

aniani food 

ani-na ... ... ... ... ... contents, meaning 

aonega wisdom 

ara garden fence 

aria feast 

ariara street 

ariha iguana 

asi not 

atai ai above, high 

atai kahana along coast to eastward 

ato-a to place, to put 

an tree, post, stick 

auka hard 

auri (introduced) iron 

au tubua mast 

avti ... ... ... ... ... weed 

73 



74 Motu-Engli&h Dictionary. 

B 

bada big 

badaoho-badaoho to grow up (of people) 

badi-na base, cause 

badi-nai, badibadi-nai beside 

badina be because 

bagu-nai on account of 

bahu food left over from a meal 

baimumu owl 

bamo-na like, companion 

bara oar, to row 

baubau... ... ... ... ... bamboo, pipe 

bava crab 

bedi coconut-shell spoon 

bema ... if 

bena then 

bero wound 

biagu-na master 

biku banana 

birairo ant (red) 

bita rat 

boga-na stomach 

boga-ia hisi to pity 

boga kunu replete (with food) 

bogaragi-na middle 

bogaragi-diai in the midst of 

bogibada hawk 

boiboi call 

boio lost 

boiri-a to call 

bona and 

bona-ia to smell 

bona-na smell 

boroma pig 

bosea basket 

bota-ia to strike 

bua-ia tari to destroy 

buatau betel nut 

bure-na blossom, flower 

buriki midrib of coconut leaflet, and broom made from 



bum ... ... ... ... ... blunt 

buruka old (of people) 

D 

daba morning 

dabara-ia to serve up food 

dabu to be in want of 

dabua clothing 



Motu-English Dictionary. 75 

<iadaba-ia to beat 

dadaira ditch 

dadarai-a to reject, to disdain 

dae up 

<iaekau to go up 

dagedage fierce, savage, wild 

dahaka ? what ? 

dahaka dainai ? why ? 

daidai ... ... ... ... ... sting-ray 

daidia ? who? (plural form) 

daiguni corner 

daika ? who ? (singular) 

dai-nai on account of, because 

daiutu room 

dala road, path, track 

damaru (introduced) umbrella 

damena salt 

danu too, also 

dara dae to ascend (a hill) 

dare-a to tear 

darima outrigger 

daro-a to sweep 

darodaro ... ... ... ... the work of sweeping 

dau-a toho ... ... ... ... to touch 

daudau... ... ... ... ... distant 

dauhai ... ... ... ... ... distant 

dava-na ... ... ... ... price 

davara ... ... ... ... ... sea 

davari-a ... ... ... ... to find 

dedidedi ... ... ... ... slippery 

dehe ... ... ... ... ... verandah 

dehoro ... coconut oil 

deke-na ... ... ... ... towards 

deke-nai ... ... ... ... at 

diari ... ... ... ... ... light (opposite of dark) 

diba ... ... ... ... ... arrow 

dibagani-a ... ... ... ... to tempt, to deceive 

diba-na to know 

dibu-a to carry (a string'bag) 

dibura dark 

dibura ruma-na ... ... ... jail 

dibura tau-na prisoner, also sometimes used in the sense of an 

unenlightened person 

digara ... ... ... ... ... fat 

digu to bathe 

diho ... ... ... ... ... down 

dihu dish 

dika ... ... ... ... ... bad 

dikadika very 

dimairi ant (small black) 



76 Motu-English Dictionary. 

dina ... ... ... ... sun, day 

dina gau-ru. watch, clock 

dina gelo -na early afternoon 

dina tubua mid-day 

diniga ... ... ... ... ... fork 

Dirava God (originally meant soul of dead person) 

diu-na ... ... ... ... ... elbow 

do ... ... ... ... ... still, yet 

doa-na ... ... ... ... ... horn 

dobu ... ... ... ... ... deep 

dodinai exactly 

dogo-a tao ... ... ... ... to hold 

dogudogu bay 

dohore presently 

doko to stop 

doko-na end 

dori-a to push 

dori-na ... ... ... ... top, peak 

doru-na ... ... ... ... back (of person) 

dou-a ... ... ... ... ... to burn 

du piles (of house) 

duahi-a to read, to count 

duanai-a to point to 

dubara crab 

dubi-na tail (of bird) 

dubu church, sacred house or platform 

dudui-a to stretch out 

dui banana plant 

duru-a ... ... ... ... ... to help 



E 

eda our (incl.) 

edana ? which ? 

edana negai ? when ? 

edeheto ? how ? 

edena ? which ? 

edeseni ai ? where ? 

edia their 

egu my 

ehe-a to carry (on shoulder) 

eiava ... ... ... ... ... or 

ela bona until (future) 

ema bona until (in narrative of past) 

emai our (excl.) 

emu your (singular) 

emui your (plural) 

ena ... ... ... ... ... his, her, its, that (beside person spoken to } 

ena be -to although 

ene those (beside person spoken to) 



Motu-Engl ; sh Dictionary. 77 

* 

eneseni ai there (beside person spoken to) 

eregabe ... ... ... ... young man or woman 



G 

gaba bell, drum 

gabamauru window 

gabeai, gabeamo after, afterwards 

gabe-na last, end, after-end of canoe 

gabu place 

gabu-a to bake 

gabu-nai where (relative) 

gadara game, to play 

gado throat, language 

gadoi few 

gadoka-gadoka green 

gageva, gageva-gageva crooked 

gaigai snake 

gaima ... ... ... ... ... calm (of sea at night) 

gana armlet 

gano sharp 

gari fear, to be afraid 

gari-na lest, for fear of (at end of phrase) 

gatoi egg 

geda mat 

gei-a ... ... -... ... ... to carry a person on back 

gima-ia to watch 

gini to stand 

gini dae to arrive 

gini kerehai to turn round 

giro-a to twist, to spin, to turn around 

goada ... ... ... ... ... strong, strength 

gohu lake 

gorere sick 

guba ... sky, storm 

guba e rahu-a thunder 

guhi ... ... ... ... ... roof 

guma soot 

guna first 

guna-na first, old 

gui-a to tie, to bind 

guri ... ... ... ... ... hole in ground, well 

guri-a to bury 

gwarume fish 

gwau to speak, to say 

gwaurai-a to tell, to proclaim 

gwau-a tao ... ... ... ... to forbid, to forgive 

gwauedeede disobedient, to disobey 

gwauhamata promise, to promise 



78 Motu-English Dictionary. 

G 

gahu mist, haze, ashes of fire 

gahusi-a to desire 

gamoga wide 

gau thing 

gaubada chief (term of respect) 

gaubadabada huge, immense 

gaukara ... ... ... ... work, to work 

gaukaralai-a to use 

gava-ia to follow, to imitate 

gei-a to dig 

gobe-a to catch (in hands) 

goeva, goevagoeva ... ... ... clean 

goevadae excellent 

guguru complete, completely 

guri-a to pray to 

guriguri prayer 



H 

haba wall 

habada-ia ... ... ... ... to make bigger 

habadelai-a ... ... ... ... to accuse 

habero-a ... ... ... ... to wound 

haboio-a ... ... ... ... to lose 

habou-a to add together, to gather 

hadai-a to build (a house) 

hadika-ia to spoil 

hadiba-ia to teach 

hado-a to plant 

hadoko-a to put a stop to 

haere to answer 

haese-a to hold 

hagari-a ... ... ... ... to frighten 

hagaru ... ... ... ... ... to come in (of tide) 

hagini-a to erect 

hagani-a ... ... ... ... to command 

haguguru-a ... ... ... ... to complete 

haheauka ... ... ... ... endurance 

hahebade ... ... ... ... accusation 

hahediba ... ... ... ... teaching 

hahediba tauna ... ... ... teacher, scholar 

hahedika misfortune 

hahedoki ... ... ... ... clothing 

hahegani ... ... ... ... commandment 

haheitalai-a ... ... ... ... to show (by sight) 



79 






hahekau ............ guidance 

hahemaoro ............ investigation, legal proceed! i 

hahetoho ............ measure 

hahetoho-a ............ to measure 

hahine ... ... ... ... ... woman 

hahisi-a ... ... ... ... to cause pain 

hahonu-a ............ to fill 

haida ... ... ... ... ... some 

hairai ............... beauty 

hakala ............... to listen 

hakau-a ............ to lead, to guide 

hakaukau-a ............ to dry 

hakwaidu-a ............ to break (sticks, etc.) 

halahe ............... to linger, to dawdle, to be late 

halohia-ia ... ... ... ... to rule (over people) 

hamakohi-a ............ to break (pots, etc.) 

hamanoka-ia ............ to weaken 

hamaoro-a ............ to tell, to show 

hamaoromaoro-a ......... to straighten 

hamarere-a ............ to cause to move 

hamauri-a ............ to heal, to save 

hamoale-a ............ to make glad 

hamoalelai-a ............ to rejoice over 

hamomokani-a . ........ to make certain 

hamoru-a ............ to drop 

hamotu-a ............ to break (string, etc.) 

hanai ............... across, through 

hanai-a ............... to cross (from one side'to the other) 

hanaihanai ............ continually, for ever 

hanamo-a ............ to mend, to improve, to praise 

haneulato; (plural) ulato ...... adolescent girl 

hanua ............... village 

hanuaboi ............ night 

hao-a ............... to waken 

haoda ............ ... fishing, to fish 

haore-a ............... to finish 

haparara-ia ............ to split 

hapetapetalai-a ......... to scatter 

hapou-a ......... ... to cause to burst 

haraga ............... quick 

hara-ia ......... ... to light (a fire) 

hari-a ............... to share, to divide 

harihari ............ now 

harihari gauna ... ... ... a present 

haroro ............... to preach, to declaim 

hato-a ... ............ to name (a person) 

hava-ia ............... to chase, to pursue 

havara-ia ............ to give birth to 

headava ............ marriage, to get married 

heagi ............... proud, boastful 



80 Motu-English Dictionary. 

heai ... ... ... ... ... quarrel, to quarrel 

heatu to fight 

heau to run 

hebogahisi pity 

hebou a meeting, to meet together 

hedare to be torn 

hedavari to meet 

hedibagani temptation 

hedinarai to be manifest, to be clear 

heduru assistance, helpfulness 

hegima care, watchfulness 

hegiro to spin 

hegaegae to prepare, to be prepared 

hegeregere equal, like, as 

hehuni hidden 

hekaha assistance, helpfulness 

hekahi near 

hekamo adhering, stuck 

hekei to slide down, to roll down 

hekokoroku boastful 

hekure to lie down 

hekwakwanai to stumble 

hekwarahi ... ... ... ... trouble, toil 

helaga holy, sacred 

helai ... ... ... ... ... to sit 

helai gauna ... ... ... ... chair 

helogohelogo ... ... ... ... noise (of people) 

hemarai ... ... ... ... shame, to be ashamed 

henanadai ... ... ... ... question, to ask 

henao-a to steal 

henao tauna thief 

heni-a to give 

henitorehai a loan, to lend 

henu ai underneath 

hemi kaha-nai along coast to westward 

henu-nai under 

henuhenu-nai under (the house) 

hepapahuahu argument, to argue 

herahia a present 

herea very 

hereva speech, to 

heruha loose, untied 

hesiai to 

hesiai tauna a messenger 

hetura friendship 

heudeude to shake, to shiver 

hevarivari mirror 

hevaseha joke, to joke 

hida ? how many ? 

hidi-a to separate, to divide 



Motu-EngUsh Dictionary. 81 

... ... ... ... ... H-sh 

hisihisi pain 

hisiu star 

hitolo hungrj' 

hoa ... ... ... ... ... to wonder, to be surprised 

hode a paddle (canoe) 

hoiiu a water pot 

hodo-a to pelt with stones 

hoho many (persons) 

hohoduka a large li/.anl 

hoi-a to buy, to sell 

lioi-a asi to hire 

hona ... ... ... ... ... only (of numbers) 

honu full 

hua ... ... ... ... ... moon, month 

huahua fruit 

hua-ia to carry 

luiala crocodile 

hui hair 

huni-a to hide 

huo wallaby-net 

hure to float, to drift 

hurehure waves (of sea) 

huri-a to wash 

hururu-hururu shining, to shine~(of bright surface) 

hutuma many (people), a crowd 



I 

ia he, she, it 

iana ... ... ... ... ... his, hers (of food) 

ibolona ... ... ... ... substitute, successor, instead of 

iboudiai ... ... ... ... all 

ida ... ... ... ... ... with (accompanying) 

idau ... ... ... ... ... different 

idauidau ... ... ... ... different 

idia they 

idiba right (opposite of left) 

idoinai ... ... ... ... ... the whole 

iduara ... ... ... ... ... door 

iduari ... ... ... ... ... comb 

iduhu ... ... ... ... .. clan, family 

iena ... ... ... ... - his, hers 

igo-aita to visit 

ihuadiai between 

ihui string-bag used as cradle 

ikoko ... nail 

ikoukou ... gate 

ikumi bundle 

ilapa large knife 



82 Motu-English Dictionary. 

ima hand, five 

ina this 

inai this 

ini ... ... ... ... ... these 

iniseni ai ... ... ... ... here 

inu-a ... ... ... ... ... to drink 

io ... ... ... ... ... spear, yes 

ipidi ... ... ... ... ... gun 

ira axe 

iri saw 

irurumata-na tears 

isada ours (incl.) of food 

ise tooth 

iseda ours (incl.) 



ita ... t we (incl.) 

ita-ia to see 

itapo fan 

itotohi walking stick 

iudauda bag 

iu-na tail 

iva-ia . , to cut 



K 

kaema ... ... ... ... ... sweet potato 

kaha-ia... ... ... ... ... to help 

kaha-na part, half 

kahau nail (of finger or toe) 

kahira-kahira near 

kahu dust 

kaia (introduced) knife 

kakakaka red 

kaka -na elder brother or si ster 

kalaga hut, rough shelter, tent 

kalo-a to paddle (a canoe) 

kamonai to hear 

kapa-ia tao to affix 

kara act, to do 

kara havara loose or immoral behaviour 

karai white cockatoo 

kara-ia to do, to make 

kara-ia toho to try 

karu green coconut 

kaubebe butterfly 

kaukau dry 

kava mad 

kavabu bottle 

kavakava silly, stupid, foolish 

kebere cup (small) 



Motu-English Dictionary 83 

kehere cup (large) 

keho-a to open 

kekeni girl 

keme-na chest 

kerere mistake, wrong 

keru ... ... ... ... ... cold 

kerukeru .... ... ... ... tomorrow 

keruma cool 

keto to fall down 

kevaru ... ... ... ... ... lightning 

kiama ... ... ... ... ... bright, shining, to shine 

kiapa string bag 

kimai fish-hook 

kipa hawk; also the midrib of the sago-palm leaf 

kiri to laugh 

kohu goods, possessions 

kohua cave 

koi-a to deceive 

koikoi untrue, to tell a lie 

kokokoko cassowary 

kokoroku fowl (domestic) 

komada ... ... ... ... low tide 

komu to hide (intransitive) 

kone ... ... ... ... ... beach, shore, coast 

kopi-na ... ... ... ... skin 

kopukopu ... ... ... ... mud 

korema... ... ... ... ... black 

kori-a ... ... ... ... to bite 

korikori true 

kou-a to shut 

koukou... ... ... ... ... shell 

koupa ... ... ... ditch, gully, small stream 

koura valley 

kuboro round 

kudou-na ... heart 

kui to ebb (of tide) 

kumi-a to wrap up 

kunu-na bottom, buttocks 

kunududu ... westerly wind 

kurokuro white 

kurukuru long grass (" kunai ") 

kwadi grasshopper 

kwadi-a to beat, to hit 

kwadogi short 

kwaidu broken 

kwakikwaki-na finger 

kwalahu smoke 

kwalimu to succeed, to conquer 

kwanau rope 



84 MoUi-English Dictionary. 

kwara-na head 

kwaru to bark 

kwatu-a ... ... ... ... to tie 



L 

lababa-na ... ... ... ... width 

labana to hunt 

labora ... ... ... ... ... yellow 

lada-na name 

lagatoi ... large trading canoe 

laga breath, to breathe 

laga ani to rest 

lagani year 

laha-ia to kick 

lahara north-west wind 

lahedo lazy 

lahi fire 

lai wind 

lala-na ... ... ... ... ... aunt on father's side, niece 

lalo-a to think 

lalo-a boio to forget 

lalo-a nege to forget, to forgive 

lalo-a tao ... ... ... ... to remember 

lalohadai idea 

lalo hekwarahi worry 

lalo hisihisi ... ... ... ... sorrow 

lalokau affection, object of affection 

lalokau heni-a ... ... ... to love 

lalo-nai inside 

lalo tamona of one mind, in agreement 

lao to go; aho a fly (insect) 

laoahu to prevent 

laohai-a to take (to a distance) 

laolao ... ... ... ... ... journey 

lara sail 

lasi ... ... ... ... ... no 

-lasi (suffixed to verb) outside 

lata ... ... ... ... ... long 

lata-na length 

lata-nai ... ... ... ... on top of 

lau I 

lauagu mine (of food only) 

lauegu mine 

laulau shadow, reflection, picture 

lauri left (opposite of right) 

lauma spirit 

laurabada ... ... ... ... south-east wind 

lebulebu immoral, of loose character 

lohia . chief 



Mm English Dictionary. 85 



lohiabada chief, king, lord 

loku-a to roll up 

lolo to shout 

lou again 

lulu-a to chase 



ma again, another 

mada bandicoot 

madi poor thing ! what a pity ! 

madi be because 

raaeda cooked 

magani wallaby 

magu fence, wall, enclosure 

ma haida others 

maho yam 

mahuta to sleep 

mai ... ... ... ... ... to come; also with, and 

mailai-a to bring 

maino peace 

mairiveina east 

maka gap 

makohi broken 

mala-na tongue 

maloa to be drowned 

malokihi midnight 

mama jealousy, to be jealous 

mami-a toho ... to taste 

mami-na taste 

manada smoothe (of things); tame (of animals); meek, 

modest (of people) 

mani please 

manoka-manoka weak 

manu ... bird 

manu rumana nest 

maoro right ( opposite of wrong) 

maoro-maoro straight 

maragi small, little 

marero-marere move, shake, tremble 

mariboi flying-fox 

mamane male 

mase ... ... ... ... ... dead, to die 

masia ... ... ... ... ... grass (short as on lawn) 

ma ta another 

mata eye 

matabudi turtle 

mata-ia to tie 

matakepulu blind 

matama-ia begin, start 



86 Mote-English Dictionary 

matamata new 

mata-na eye, point 

matu hole (in board, etc.) 

maua box 

maumau to grumble 

mauri ... ... ... ... ... life, to live 

mavaru ... ... ... ... to dance 

mea ... ... ... ... ... magic 

medu ... ... ... ... ... rain 

mereki ... ... ... ... ... plate 

mero ... ... ... ... ... boy 

metaira-metaira ... ... ... slow 

metau ... ... ... ... ... heavy 

metau-na ... ... ... ... weight (of) 

miri ... ... ... ... ... gravel 

mirigini ... ... ... ... northerly wind 

miro ... ... ... ... ... dirty 

mo ... ... ... ... ... only 

moale ... ... ... ... ... happy 

moemoe ... ... ... ... reef 

moi-a tao to tread on, to crush with foot 

moko-na almost (in past only) 

mokoraha ... ... ... ... duck 

momo ... ... ... ... ... many 

momokani certain, certainly 

moru to fall (from height) 

motu to break (rope, etc.) 

motumotu island 

mudumu white ant 

mumuta to vomit 

muramura medicine 

murimuri ai outside 

muri-nai behind 

mutu ' to swamp, to sink 



N 

nadi stone 

nadu-a ... , to cook, to boil 

na heto as, like 

nahu ... ... ... ... ... to swim 

namo good 

namonamo carefully 

nanadai-a ... ... ... ... to ask 

nao ... ... ... ... ... foreign 

nau dish (wooden) 

nari-a to watch, to look after, to wait for 

natu-na son or daughter 

nega ... ... ... ... ... time 

nega-nai when (relative) 



Motiir-English Dictionary. 87 



negari clear (of water) 

nese hanai bridge 

nihi to dream 

niu coconut (tree and ripe fruit) 

noga to wake 

noho to live, to dwell 

noi-a to beg 

noinoi request 

noinoi tauna beggar 

noi hegame tauna beggar 

nono-a to smoke (fish, etc.) 





ogogami poor 

ohe-na side (of person) 

-oho away 

oi you (singular) 

oiamu yours (of food only) 

oibe yes 

oiemu yours (singular) 

ore to be finished 

orea company, class, group 

ore-na remainder 

ori cloud 

oroma-na ... ... ... ... appearance, form 

ororo ... ... ... ... ... hill, mountain 



P 

pada-diai between 

paga ' shoulder 

pakosi (introduced) scissors 

palaka-palaka flat 

palapala-na foot 

parara ... split 

parapara frog 

paripari ... ... ... ... wet 

pata table 

pepe flag 

peva bow (for shooting arrows) 

pidi-a to shoot 

pidipidi to knock, to tap 

piripou trousers 

pisipisi to splash 

pou to burst 

puapua double canoe 

puki ... ... ... ... ... to disappear 

puse (introduced) bag, sack 



88 Motu-English Dictionary. 

R 

rabia sago 

raka to walk 

raka oho to depart 

rakatani-a to leave (a person or place) 

rakuraku firewood 

rami grass-skirt, loin-cloth 

ramu-na ... ... ... ... root 

ranu water 

ranu guri-na ... ... ... ... well 

ranu mase ... ... ... ... thirst v 

rara blood 

raria sand 

raro clay 

raruosi both (of people) 

rata ... ... ... ... ... milk 

rau to crawl 

rau-na leaf 

rava-na father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter- 

in-law 

rea-ia ... ... ... ... ... to forget, to miss 

reana, readia perhaps, probably 

rege-na, regerege-na sound, noise 

rei ... ... ... ... ... grass 

reirei board 

reke fishing-net 

revareva tattooing, letter, writing 

rigika-rigika rough 

rigi-na branch 

roge food-store 

roho to jump, to fly 

ru-a to prevent 

ruaosi both (of things) 

ruha-ia to untie 

rui ... ... ... ... ... dugong 

ruma ... ... house 



S 

sedira ... ... ... ... ... perhaps, I don't know 

sega ... ... ... ... ... clearing for garden 

sege-a ... ... ... ... ... to sharpen 

sei-a ... ... ... ... ... to pour 

senu ... ... ... ... ... heap, pile 

severa-severa thin 

siahu hot, heat, power 

siai-a to send 

sibo-na ... ... ... ... alone, himself 

sina-na ... ... ... ... mother 

sina-na lahai-na ... ... ... aunt on mother's side 



M tAu-Englisli l)t,nary. 89 

sinavai rivt-r 

siriho ... ... ... ... ... reed 

siriu-a to join 

sisia dog 

sisiba warning, ad\ i< . 

sisiba heni-a to warn, to advi^- 

sisiboi bat (animal) 

sisivana approximately 

siva-ia to turn end to end 

sivarai ... ... ... ... ... story 

T 

ta one, a 

tadi salt water 

tadi-na younger brother or si-t-r 

tagi wealth 

taho-a ... ... ... ... ... to throw 

tahu-a ... ... ... ... ... to seek, to look for 

taia-na ... ... ... ... ear 

taihu-na ... ... ... ... brother or sister (opposite >^N) 

tai-na a little (of) 

taitai ... ... ... ... ... to cry 

taitu yam 

tamaka (introduced) ... ... ... shoe 

tama-na ... ... ... ... father 

tama-na lahai-na ... ... ... uncle on father's .side 

tamona ... ... ... ... one only 

tano ... ... ... ... ... land, ground, soil 

tanobada ... ... ... ... mainland, world 

tara ... ... ... ... ... to shine (of sun) 

taraki-a ... ... ... ... to shoot (with arrows) 

taravatu ... law 

tari-a ... ... ... ... ... to steer 

ta ta each 

tau (plural, tatau) man, men 

tau-a dae to hang up 

tau ani-na body 

tau boera tired 

tauhau (plural, uhau) young man, young men (unmarried) 

taunabinai "1 

taunabenai > therefore 

taunabunai J 

taunimanima people 

to but 

toa to blow (of wind) 

toa-na sign, mark 

toea arm-shell 

tohu ... ... ... ... ... sugar cane 



90 M otu -English Dictionary. 

toma diho ... ... ... ... to worship 

tore-a to write 

toreisi to stand up 

toto sore, ulcer 

tou-a to ring (a bell), to beat (a drum) 

tuari war 

tubu ... to grow, to swell, to sprout 

tubu-na grandfather, grandmother, grandchild 

tui-na knee 

tunu-a to bake (pottery) 

tura-na friend 

turia bone 

U 

uda bush, forest 

uda-ia to put into (a bag or box) 

udu-na * mouth 

udu baubau nose 

uduna thick 

uhau ... ... ... ... ... young men (unmarried) 

ulato ... ... ... ... ... young women (unmarried) 

uma ... ... ... ... ... garden 

umui you (plural) 

umui amui yours (of food only) 

umui emui yours 

una that 

unai there 

unu those 

unukahai on the other side 

unuseni ai ... ... ... ... there 

ura wish 

ura heni-a to wish, to want 

uro cooking pot 

utu-a ... ... ... ... ... to cut 

V 

vaboha gecko 

vadavada steps of house 

vadivadi ... ... ... ... visitor 

vagege jealous 

vaira-na face 

vairai ahead 

vaira-nai in front of 

vaitani completely 

vaivai mango 

vamu meat 

vanagi canoe 

vanegai the day before yesterday, or, more loosely, a fe\ 

days ago 



Motu-Etiglish Dictionary. 



91 



vara ............... to be born 

varavara-na ... ... ... ... relative 

varahu ............ steam, perspiration 

varani ............... yesterday 

variga ............... small lizard 

varo ............... twine, cotton 

varoda-varoda ......... thin, emaciated (of people) 

vaura ............... cuscus 

vava-na ............ uncle on mother's side, m-p 

vea ............... calm (of sea by day) 



ve-a 



to pull 






PL 
6257 
T8 
19 



Turner, R. Lister 

A grammar of the Motu 
language of Papua 



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